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Talks planned over Tube strikes

Talks are set to be held today in a bid to avert a wave of strikes by London Underground workers next week which threaten travel chaos for passengers, including those travelling to the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union are due to stage a series of walkouts from next Monday evening in protest at the sacking of driver Arwyn Thomas.

He won his employment tribunal claim of unfair dismissal but it did not recommend that he should be reinstated, which the union has been demanding.

RMT leaders are due to meet LU bosses today to try to resolve the row and head off the strikes, which are due from 9.01pm next Monday to 11.59am on Tuesday, a 24-hour walkout from 12 noon on June 29 and a nine hour stoppage from 12 noon on July 1.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "London Underground have asked us to wait for the outcome of Arwyn Thomas's employment tribunal and that body has now found that he was unfairly dismissed.

"Throughout this process LU have said that they would abide by the tribunal ruling so all that we are now asking them to do is stick to their word and get Arwyn back to work."

Mike Brown, LU's managing director, said: "The employment tribunal has ruled that Mr Thomas should have been disciplined for his actions and that his dismissal was in no way due to his activities as a union member.

"This is entirely contrary to the claims made by the RMT leadership in order to justify their strike action. The tribunal has also found that he was 50% blameworthy for his dismissal and it has not called for his re-employment.

"However, we recognise that despite these factors, the tribunal has found that the sanction used in Mr.Thomas's case was too high. We will therefore now be considering the findings in detail."