Unions furious as Metronet gets second Tube contract

20 Sep 01
Transport unions claimed they were misled by London Underground chiefs after a company with one contract already in the bag won a second one to manage the Tube under the public-private partnership.

21 September 2001

Metronet, a consortium comprising Balfour Beatty, Bombardier Transportation and Thames Water, won preferred bidder status on September 19 for the £5bn deal to run the 'sub-surface' lines, which include the Circle and the District.

Earlier this year they were also made preferred bidder for the Bakerloo, Central, Waterloo and City and Victoria lines.

The unions claim this gives Metronet 66% control of the Tube and contradicts London Transport bosses' claims that they would select three separate companies to run the three 'infracos' – infrastructure companies contracted to manage the Tube.

'It is an absolute farce,' said Bobby Law, an officer with the RMT union.'There need to be three separate companies.'

Law added that Tube bosses had also undermined one of the main principles of the PPP: that introducing the private sector would produce greater competition.

Derek Smith, London Underground Ltd chair and managing director, said that Metronet's two arms 'would be run as separate companies'.

He dismissed fears over Balfour Beatty's safety record on the national network, despite privatisation being severely criticised in the third Cullen report on rail safety after the Hatfield crash, published this week.

The announcement came as bosses began a charm offensive to convince the public that PPP was safe. At a 'stakeholders' meeting' in London, Smith put the case for the PPP. He refused, though, to meet union requests to hold a public meeting into PPP.

The meeting was dismissed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone as a publicity stunt and he and his transport commissioner Bob Kiley refused to attend.


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