April 2010: In 1998, the recently-elected New Labour government announced a ‘public-private partnership’ for London Underground. Operations would remain in the public sector, but the infrastructure would transfer to private consortia on 30-year leases. The unions fought this proposal for five years.
Stuff about the city where I live!
Both London Underground and Tube Lines - and, no doubt, many other companies - will tell us that they "have to" cut jobs because of the economic crisis. But a look at London Underground's history shows that this is not just untrue - it is the opposite of the truth.
From 'Solidarity' newspaper, January 2010:
A decision by the PPP Arbiter in December may prove to be a fatal punch to private infrastructure company Tube Lines and the whole ‘Public-Private Partnership’ set-up on London Underground.
On 17 December 2009, the PPP Arbiter published an important document, which may turn out to be a staging post in the collapse of Tube Lines and – following 2007’s similar collapse of Metronet – of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) itself.
The underground railway (Metro) in Finland's capital city Helsinki is due to go 'driverless' in 2016. I discussed this with Finnish trade unionists Jussi and Satu, and heard a story that has important lessons for London Underground workers and passengers trying to prevent the same calamity happening in London.
This is the speech I gave to TUC Disabled Workers' Conference on 28 May 2014.
Many of you will have your own experiences of both the freedom provided by public transport and the difficulty using it – be that the railway, buses, shipping, air travel, trams, riverboats, taxis, or other modes of transport.
from the pamphlet Radical Chains: Sexuality and Class Politics, published in 1999.
On 30 April 1999, a nail-bomb killed three people and injured dozens more. It exploded in the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street, the heart of gay Soho.
Throughout 2013, RMT members fought a struggle for the reinstatement of 33 agency workers who lost their jobs when their agency was (rightly) kicked off the Underground. I wrote this poem in support of that campaign. Eventually some, but not all, of the workers got permanent jobs on London Underground.