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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Tube chiefs hope for strike reprieve
Tube platform
Workers fear privatisation of the Tube is unsafe
Underground are urging union leaders to step back from a crippling 24-hour strike scheduled to start on Wednesday evening.

Talks aimed at averting industrial action over plans to part-privatise the Tube ended without agreement on Tuesday

With just a day to go, London Underground has asked the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) to call off the strike.

An LU spokesman said: "There is still time for them to think again - but time is running out fast."

Ken Livingstone on the Tube
Ken Livingstone is opposed to the PPP plan

He said: "The other unions have agreed a period of continued discussion on safety matters and we really do urge RMT to take this reasonable alternative step."

Londoners are being urged to start their journey home before 2000 BST on Wednesday, when the strike is due to start.

It is expected to cause chaos for London's three million Tube passengers on Thursday.

The RMT, which represents signallers, station staff and some drivers believes the controversial part-privatisation of the Tube is being rushed and could jeopardise safety.

Bobby Law, the RMT's London regional organiser, said LU's proposals for ending the dispute were inadequate.

He said: "To offer us a cosy chat on a limited number of items when our safety reps have told them that full consultation could take as long as a year just shows how far they are from the real world.

PPP plans
The Tube Lines consortium would be responsible for maintaining and upgrading the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines
The Metronet consortium would maintain the rest of the lines.
The operation of the Tube would come under the London mayor and the transport commissioner.

"What comes out of this process will have to ensure the safety of the Tube for the next 30 years."

The government's Public Private Partnership plan (PPP) for London Underground has proved highly controversial.

RMT officials said they still believed union safety representatives were not being properly consulted over PPP.

Workers are also concerned that commercial pressures and new management structures could affect the safe running of the Tube.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone and his transport commissioner Bob Kiley have launched a High Court challenge against PPP which is expected to take place on 23 July.


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See also:

09 Jul 02 | England
21 Jun 02 | England
18 Jun 02 | UK
08 May 02 | Business
06 Feb 02 | ppp
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