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Privatised London Underground staff cooks to strike for reinstatement of sacked trade union rep

Privateer Sodexo refuses to reinstate Petrit Mihaj despite a tribunal ruling his dismissal was unfair

LONDON Underground cooks employed by notorious privateer Sodexo will strike next week to demand the reinstatement of a sacked union rep.

North London-based Petrit Mihaj was fired after helping to build an RMT union branch for outsourced caterers.

A subsequent employment tribunal ruled his dismissal unfair, saying he was sacked for his trade union activities. But the private firm has refused to reinstate him.

On Monday RMT members working for Sodexo will down tools between 6.30am and 11am.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: “We have made it crystal clear that we will not allow this outrageous attack on union reps and union organisation to go unchallenged.

“This is the most blatant and clear-cut example of victimisation and dismissal on the grounds of union activity that it is possible to imagine — a fact backed up by the employment tribunal.

“It is due to the anti-union and anti-worker laws in this country that we have to continue to campaign for Petrit’s reinstatement and in defence of strong, fighting union organisation at Sodexo.”

The French firm soaks up scores of public-sector cash by winning contracts for outsourced public services including prisons, NHS pathology units and school kitchens. Along with G4S and Serco, it is considered one of the “big three” favoured companies for such contracts.

The company’s defence division came under fire last month after employees spoke of a string of racist abuse cases.

In one incident, a thug director hit an employee, telling her it was “punch-a-black week.” Another worker claimed she was told that certain rooms at the firm’s Colchester offices were “whites only.”

After subsequent complaints, managers dismissed the abuse as “banter.”

Labour frontbencher Jon Trickett has called for an investigation into the outsourcing giant. He suggested that laws that allow privateers to be excluded from bidding for public contracts if they “committed grave misconduct” could be invoked.

“It is shameful that a company like Sodexo, with its shocking track record of racism and bullying, are allowed to win government and London Underground contracts,” Mr Cash added.

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