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A PROMINENT activist of rail union RMT has been reinstated to his job following negotiations between management and union representatives.
Benjamin Frederick, a guard on Great Western Railway (GWR) and a well-known health and safety representative at Paddington depot, was assaulted, racially abused and spat on by a passenger in August.
He reported the alleged attack to GWR and the British Transport Police (BTP), and was told by the BTP that he would be approached for a statement, but they never contacted him.
Mr Frederick was then suspended from work in September after his managers claimed he had assaulted a member of the public, despite no complaints being filed against him.
He was suspended for well over a month, which the RMT claims is a breach of a workplace agreement that investigatory suspensions of workers could not continue for longer than 28 days.
After two disciplinary hearings, management finally decided to dismiss Mr Frederick, which led the union to begin balloting members for strike action to defend him.
The union’s leadership lined up behind Mr Frederick, with general secretary Mick Cash claiming that he was the victim of a “vexatious and false allegation, which has been cooked up by managers with a grudge against an active trade unionist.”
Following the announcement that workers would ballot, management eventually conceded, and agreed to reinstate him yesterday.
In a statement, Mr Frederick’s RMT branch, Paddington No 1, said: “Massive thanks to all the members who have supported Ben in this difficult time from across the entire union.
“We also thank our national executive committee and national officers who have shown 100 per cent support to our branch and Ben.
“Ben was represented at appeal by our senior assistant general secretary Steve Hedley who this branch congratulates in his representation, as well as our own branch secretary Alex Gordon who defended Ben in the previous stages of this case.
“We are RMT — do not go to work without us.”
GWR was not available for comment at the time of going to print.
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