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London Underground driver gets job back after chant for free Palestine

Central Line driver has written to faith groups to apologise, TfL says

Andy Gregory
Thursday 18 January 2024 09:33 GMT
Palestine supporters march towards Downing Street as thousands gather in London

A Tube driver filmed leading London Underground passengers in a chant of “free Palestine” will be allowed to return to work after apologising to faith groups.

The Central Line driver was suspended after he was heard leading protesters in chants of “free, free Palestine” and “no justice, no peace” over the tannoy on 21 October.

According to those who filmed the incident, the driver said he had been unable to attend the huge pro-Palestine demonstration that day, which saw around 100,000 people protest in central London against Israel’s devastating bombardment of Gaza following Hamas’s cross-border massacre on 7 October.

The Transport for London (TfL) employee was at one point filmed telling protesters “louder, please, louder” as they responded to his chants, before concluding by saying: “Hope you all have a blessed, day today. Look after yourselves ... and keep all those people in your prayers.”

He was suspended while TfL investigated the incident after footage posted online sparked criticism, including from Tory MPs and the Israeli Embassy, which said: “It is deeply troubling to see such intolerance on London’s Tubes … public transport should be a place of safety and inclusivity for all.”

A TfL spokesperson said on Wednesday that, “following a thorough internal investigation in accordance with our agreed formal processes, disciplinary action has been taken”.

“The driver has also written to faith groups that we have been engaging with since October to apologise for the announcements and for the impact they had on some customers travelling on the train and in the wider community,” they said.

“It is critically important to everyone at TfL that our network feels, and is, a safe and welcoming place for all Londoners, and we will do all we can to continue to ensure that.”PA

British Transport Police had also previously said it was investigating the case and working with TfL – a move which the Aslef union said was “a ridiculous overreaction to something that should clearly be dealt with internally by Transport for London in line with normal procedures”.

The train drivers’ union said on Wednesday: “We are glad that this case has been successfully concluded in line with London Underground’s disciplinary policy.”

Tube sources said the driver's suspension has been lifted and he will be returning to work.

Additional reporting by PA

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