TfL chiefs barrage Londoners with ‘misleading’ ads
Tube bosses have waged a campaign of “party political propaganda” with taxpayers’ cash to back Tory Mayor Boris Johnson’s 1,000-job cull, London Underground workers alleged yesterday.
Publicly funded Transport for London (TfL) placed full-page adverts in newspapers including London’s Evening Standard — given out free on the Tube — and put posters up around the Underground network ahead of the RMT strike.
Passengers have also been sent emails promoting about “modernisation” that direct them to a slick website that includes warnings about “the future of the Tube.”
And TfL managing director Mike Brown has even penned a letter explaining “why the strike threat is wrong.”
He wrote in an official capacity: “There is no reason for the RMT to continue to threaten Londoners with five days of strike action.”
But rail workers said TfL had crossed the line between information about the strike and “party political propaganda.”
RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: “If they were adverts that said what services would not be running as a result of the strike that would be pure information.
“But to place adverts in the press that directly attack the trade unions, attack the workforce and promote and support the political objectives of the Tory Mayor of London — we believe that is party political propaganda funded by the taxpayer.”
Mr Cash called for a parliamentary inquiry into what he said amounted to an “abuse of public funds.”
Labour MPs tabled an urgent motion in the House of Commons about the “one-sided and misleading” adverts.
It expresses concern that “taxpayers’ and Tube fare-payers’ money is being used to fund propaganda adverts in newspapers attacking London Underground workers for taking strike action.
“It is deeply regrettable that public money is being used to attack Tube workers who have been hailed as heroes after Tube bombings and delivering a successful Olympics.”
Tabled by John McDonnell and Ian Lavery, early day motion 1299 has also so far been supported by Jeremy Corbyn, Kelvin Hopkins, Austin Mitchell, Grahame Morris, Virendra Sharma and Chris Williamson.
A TfL spokesman said that it had been talking to the unions about the cuts plans since November and claimed the messages were part of the body’s “obligation to explain our plans to the millions of people who rely on the service every day.”