Local Trade Unionists Slam East London Line Privatisation Plan
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Press release from Hackney Trade Union Council, 6 January 2004

London Underground has revealed that when the East London Line is extended into Hackney, it will not be a Tube line, but a privatised, mainline service.

LUL's Company Council was told that the existing line - from Shoreditch to New Cross - will close in 2006 for the track to be replaced and the northern and southern extensions to be built. When it re-opens in 2008, the train service will be franchised out to a private Train Operating Company.

Janine Booth, President of Hackney Trade Union Council, said: "Rail privatisation is one of the most unpopular policies of the last decade - and for very good reasons. After the numerous safety disasters and deterioration in services, it beggars belief that anyone would still think that privatisation is the way forward for the East London Line."

Janine, who is a member of Tube trade union RMT, added: "This is a kick in the teeth for Hackney. We already have several mainline services, but local people have been campaigning for years to be part of London Underground - with Tube services, Tube tickets, Tube connections."

Although London Underground's infrastructure transferred to the private sector last year, its operations - trains, stations and signalling - remain with the public-sector body, Transport for London. Under this latest plan, those functions too will be transferred to the private sector.

Jason Humphreys, RMT's representative for station staff on the East London Line, said:"This spells disaster for Underground workers and local communities alike. RMT will campaign alongside the communities affected - including Hackney - to keep the East London Line public and get the extensions built."

Jason will be speaking about the privatisation plan at next Wednesday's Hackney TUC meeting, which takes place at 7.30pm at Aspland & Marcon Community Hall, on the corner of Amhurst Road and Marcon Place. All members of a trade union are welcome.