Saturday, November 15, 2008

Boris scraps transport projects and jobs

TORY London mayor Boris Johnson last week announced that several major Transport for London projects are to be scrapped and jobs could be lost as TfL tries to save £2.4 billion over the next 10 years.
But Johnson said £39 billion would be spent on projects like Crossrail and Tube improvements.
The London Labour Group said he had made a “bonfire” of transport projects.
Dropped schemes include a £1.3 billion cross-river tram plan, a £500 million Thames Gateway Bridge scheme in east London, and a £750 million extension of the Docklands Light Railway to Dagenham Dock.
Also axed are a £500 million Oxford Street tram scheme, a £170 million Croydon Tramlink extension and public space proposals for a number of areas including Parliament Square and the Victoria Embankment.
TfL said it aimed to avoid redundancies but a spokesperson said the organisation was looking at “de-layering of management” and was looking at “reductions in headcount”, which would include reducing the reliance it had on outside consultants.
The RMT transport union responded by saying that any threat of forced redundancies will be resisted.
The union today said it was alarmed by the announcement that “hundreds” of jobs could be lost across TfL as part of a drive to find £2.4 billion in “efficiency savings”.
“TfL has made vague statements about the need to reduce headcount across TfL and that can only cause alarm among our members,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.
“Reducing the use of over-priced outside consultants is all well and good, but there can be no question of any job losses among the people who deliver the services that London depends on.
“There is no way that London’s transport workers should be made to pay for the failure of the bankers and privateers whose greed has created the crisis our economy is now in.
“The mayor was elected on the promise of bright new ideas, but there is nothing remotely bright or new about wielding the axe on jobs and services.
“If the mayor is looking for efficiencies he should find a way of bringing the Tube Lines PPP contracts back in house, because they are still draining huge sums of public money from London’s transport budget.
“We thought the Government was going to plough money into public projects to help us through the recession, but first we have had attacks on Network Rail’s essential budgets and now it seems London Underground is coming under attack. “It goes without saying that RMT will resist any forced redundancies among our members,” Bob Crow said.

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