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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 June, 2003, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Bid to end Tube strike threat
Tube train
Pay negotiations could take a year
London's mayor is hoping to agree a four-year pay deal with Tube workers and end the threat of strikes on the underground.

Ken Livingstone pledged to open negotiations with union leaders when his Transport for London (TfL) takes over the running of London Underground (LU).

On Wednesday, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling confirmed he intends to hand over control by 15 July.

Mr Livingstone, who addressed the annual conference of the train drivers' union Aslef in Scarborough on Tuesday, said he wanted to put in place a deal to last three or four years.

With the uncertainty being lifted, Tube staff can begin to believe in a renewed Underground
Tim O'Toole

A long-term agreement would end the annual "fiasco" of strike threats on the Tube, he said.

Mr Livingstone believed negotiations could take up to a year, but said it would be worth it to secure industrial peace.

The mayor stepped in last year to avert a series of crippling pay strikes, promising to refer the dispute to the conciliation service Acas when he took control of the Tube.

"We will honour that pledge" said Mr Livingstone.

TfL recently announced two key appointments who will report directly to Tim O'Toole, LU's managing director after the transfer of control.

Low morale

Bob Janowski, of the engineering firm Parson Brickerhoff, will become the chief programme officer, with responsibility to make the public private partnership (PPP) scheme - where different parts of the network are controlled by LU and private companies - work.

Mike Brown, 39, LU's director of customer services will become chief operating officer with a brief to look after stations and drivers. He has worked at LU since 1989.

Mr O'Toole accepted that morale among Tube managers had been hit by the pending transfer and problems over this year's closure of the Central Line.

He said: "Tube staff have worked very hard to transport three million people daily in difficult times.

"Now, with the uncertainty being lifted, Tube staff can begin to believe in a renewed Underground."




SEE ALSO:
Dust fears on Underground
02 Jun 03  |  London
Central Line reopens fully
12 Apr 03  |  UK
Hitches spoil Tube line reopening
03 Apr 03  |  England
Darling intervenes on Central Line
12 Mar 03  |  England


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