The Government was in a deepening hole over its plans for privatising London's tube network at the beginning of this week-and more strikes could be on the way. Talks between deputy prime min ister John Prescott and London mayor Ken Livingstone's transport supremo Bob Kiley restarted on Monday. They had collapsed last week after Prescott went back on an earlier pledge to overhaul his PPP privatisation scheme.
New Labour is determined to push the sell-off through. But opposition to it is so great that even the bosses' Financial Times slams the scheme. There was overwhelming support for the tube workers' one-day strike earlier this month. Members of the RMT rail union refused to cross picket lines set up by drivers in the ASLEF union.
Now the RMT is reballoting members for strike action. Further action cannot come quickly enough.
The rail unions called a public rally to oppose tube privatisation for Thursday of this week. Thursday 22 February, 6pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London.
'The Government clearly has not learned the lesson of rail privatisation. The only remaining purpose of the PPP is to save the political face of Gordon Brown, the chancellor. Mr Blair should overrule the treasury and drop this ill conceived project.'
FINANCIAL TIMES, Monday 19 February