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Here’s why Organise members support workers expressing solidarity with Palestine

After a London tube driver was suspended for saying “free, free” to passengers travelling to a protest for Palestine, over 100,000 Organise members have come together to show their support.

Zainabb Hull
November 15, 2023

The Transport for London (TfL) worker expressed his solidarity with Palestine with a plea for peace and an end to violence in the region over the tannoy system. Unfortunately, this act of empathy has put his job at risk and he has been suspended pending an investigation by his employers.

Many people feel passionately about the crisis unfolding in Palestine and right now is a time for solidarity, not division. In fact, 98% of surveyed Organise members think that workers should be able to show their solidarity with Palestine without fear of repercussion. Organise members’ strong support for the TfL tube driver comes from a shared belief in democracy, human rights, and the freedom to express opinions.

Now, the Organise network is calling on TfL to reconsider any disciplinary action taken against the driver for expressing his support for the people of Palestine and ensure that freedom of expression and the right to express solidarity with humanitarian causes are upheld within the workplace, provided they do not incite hate or violence. Here’s why Organise members want to protect the right to express solidarity with Palestine at work.

Freedom of speech at work 📣

“In a free and democratic society, this should not be a sackable offence, particularly when polls show he is in agreement with 76% of the population.”

“Anyone with humanity would do what this driver did. All he did is show sympathy and call for peace and to stop the killing of innocent people. Besides, what makes this country unique is freedom and freedom of speech and when people say their opinion about something, it shouldn’t be taken against them.”

“This driver should not be fired or even suspended for interacting with the public and making them feel comfortable on the tube he was driving. He has freedom of speech and that freedom doesn't get taken away at work, nothing he said was inciting violence and he should have his job back.”

“Freedom of speech is a human right. Freedom of speech is particularly important when there are moral atrocities occurring under our government's watch and approval. It is abhorrent that someone should lose their job for standing up for human rights.”

“I was on that train and first-hand witnessed the utterly sincere sentiments of the driver and how much camaraderie he stirred on the train. I just think with this international condition of helplessly witnessing genocide, in those early days, people just didn’t know what to do because of how immensely disproportionate accurate representation was and that there was such a desire to show solidarity. These are immensely strange times where despite the horrors and atrocities we know from history - horrific history taught in our childhoods and in schools today - as civilians we simply have to helplessly sit back and watch mass atrocities. This is not normal. And I believe the driver felt compelled to show solidarity with Gaza via the demonstrators.”

“The driver is allowed to express his feelings - freedom of speech. He wasn't encouraging violence against Israel or Jewish people, just wishing that Palestinians could be free too.”

“I can see no legitimate reason why the TfL driver should be sanctioned for expressing his heartfelt support for the passengers on the train that day. The message was a compassionate and peaceful one and in no way an incitement to hate or violence.”

Standing against injustice for a humanitarian cause 💜

“If he is fired you would be sending a message to the world that doing the right thing should be punishable. Is every other man or woman in history who made a difference by speaking the truth and trying to save innocent people wrong? Is Martin Luther King wrong? Did Nelson Mandela deserve to go to prison? If we don’t speak up innocent people will continue to die. The driver and his family should not be punished just because he stood against genocide.”

“It is absolutely abysmal that we cannot peacefully protest against a genocide happening before our very eyes. Disgusting that people should be reprimanded for standing up for the right thing.”

“The freedom of Palestine should be a humanitarian cause that everyone supports. To punish someone for this goes against basic humanity.”

“He saw thousands of commuters on his train who were happy that they had been campaigning for peace and against injustice. At the moment of excitement he chanted “Free, Free…” and for this, he should not be punished. This is a basic human thing he did. He didn’t do anything offensive.”

“That was a message of peace and freedom and he should not be punished. Instead, a dialogue and universal understanding should be held, it’s not against the law and therefore no reprisals. Freedom to all oppressed everywhere.”

“Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B'Tselem, the UN and many more credible humanitarian organisations have shown solidarity with the Palestinian people as a whole; why is it that a London tube driver escorting Londoners showing their solidarity to Palestinian people through peaceful protest, can't show solidarity? The driver was not putting anyone at risk. They were not discriminating, nor being prejudiced. They represent London. And as such, their actions were completely in line with what Londoners should expect from their counterpart.”

Double standards from TfL ⚖️

“How is it acceptable to sack an employee for being in favour of peace and condemning genocide? Why was it morally correct to give our moral support towards Ukraine and its citizens against an occupying force and not in this case? No one's job should be on the line in a country where we are supposed to have freedom of speech.”

“It is not right that expressing solidarity with oppressed people is dependent on the colour of their skin! This was not an issue when solidarity was expressed with the Ukrainian people (as it should have been). The driver expressed solidarity due to his humanity. This is what we should hold dear!”

“The message shared by the train driver did not incite hate or encourage violence. Rather, it was a speech which showed empathy and compassion. The driver even mentioned praying for the people who are suffering from the atrocities which clearly shows the driver’s intention. This was publicly accepted when it was related to Ukraine but why is it not accepted for the suffering of Palestine? And why didn’t people risk losing their jobs when they showed empathy for people suffering in Ukraine?“

You can join over 100,000 people supporting freedom of speech at work by signing the petition to support the tube driver’s right to express solidarity with Palestine.


Zainabb Hull

Zainabb supports Organise members and helps organisers tweak campaigns to increase their impact.