LondonNet News Headlines
30/01/01
No Picket Duty for Ken
- Mayor withdraws to the shadows as strike looms

KEN LIVINGSTONE has backed down from his pledge to join the picket lines of striking Tube workers.

The London Mayor had earlier said he backed strikers, who will stage their first one day stoppage on Monday, but now apparently views actually lining up alongside Tube drivers as too politically risky.

That's because Livingstone's placeman in charge of the Underground, Bob Kiley, is reckoned by some industry insiders to be close to a deal with the national government over plans to partially privatise the network, the very issue over which strikers are taking action.

Both members of the drivers union, ASLEF, and Livingstone believe privatisation will adversely affect safety on the Tube and point to the disasters on the overground system since it was handed to the private sector five years ago as evidence.

The other main Tube union, the RMT, was yesterday blocked by the High Court from allowing its members to take action on a legal technicality but could appeal over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the next generation of Tube drivers could be mostly women after a job ad placed by London Underground in Cosmopolitan magazine drew a huge response. "Cosmo Girl is just the sort of person we want to be a train driver," said an LU spokesperson.




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