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Saturday 21st
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

Unions give warning as Johnson pushes ahead

WORKERS will carry the can for a “back-of-a-fag-packet stunt” of extending all-night running on the Tube, transport unions warned last night as Tories unveiled a £10 billion transport investment package for the capital.

Plans to roll out a 24-hour service on deep level Tube lines will now be extended to the sub-surface Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith and City lines — along with the London Overground rail network in 2017 and the Docklands Light Railway in 2021.

Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson also announced an order for an additional 200 buses in his controversial “new routemaster” model — which cost twice as much to manufacture as ordinary buses.

Road, pavement and cycle lane upgrades are also planned.

Speaking alongside Tory Chancellor George Osborne at the Tate Modern gallery, Mr Johnson said the new plans “will ensure we keep the capital’s economy moving well into the 21st century.”

But RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the announcement was a “blatant pre-election stunt” and described the lack of consultation as “ridiculous.”

“RMT is not opposed to extended running but there are massive issues on staffing, safety and maintenance which have not been addressed and which would need to be signed off by our reps,” he said.

“This announcement has been made against the backdrop of a near doubling in assaults on staff, cuts to over 1,000 jobs and the axing of guards on London Overground.

“Night running would mean increased drunkenness and risks to both passengers and staff alike and could only work with substantial increases in staffing right across the board, and that means an immediate reversal of the current cuts programme.”

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Boris Johnson’s publicity stunts are getting more and more desperate and deluded as he heads for the exit door at City Hall to become an MP on May 7 for Uxbridge.

“His night Tube starting in September will lose millions and is not due to break even for another 18 years, and yet here he is, with another back-of-a-fag-packet publicity stunt.”

Twenty-four hour service on the Northern, Victoria, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines is set to start in September.