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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 January 2009

Say 'no' to the Metro privateers

In the north east, Labour MPs are unhappy. They are bleating that they are having to answer difficult questions from constituents over the privatisation of Tyne and Wear Metro. Norman Hall and Elaine Brunskill report.

The Metro is Britain's last publicly owned railway. It has won awards including for being Britain's most punctual railway. Now invitations for private companies to tender to run the Metro system have gone out.

The Keep the Metro Public (KMP) campaign was initiated by the rail union RMT and then set up under the auspices of the regional TUC. The campaign is growing and local groups are being set up across Tyne and Wear. These groups which, alongside Socialist Party members, include Labour Party members, trade unionists, other left groups and community activists, are holding stalls in town centres, leafleting Metro stations and talking to passengers on the trains. Everywhere we go we get a good response from the public.

At a regional TUC meeting on 24 January, a resolution calling on all unions to follow the example of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) was put forward. The PCS and its members are actively supporting the anti-privatisation campaign, including leafleting Metro stations. Disgracefully the regional TUC voted down this resolution. Even more disgraceful was the role of Unison officials who spoke out against the motion.

Unison is one of the unions whose members will be affected by Metro privatisation. One Unison official has previously argued that the KMP need to "get real" as everyone faces market testing and privatisation these days - the in-house bid is the "only game in town" for the campaign.

Many activists feel that Unison are attempting to sabotage the campaign because of the vociferous opposition Labour MPs and local councillors have felt from members of the public. But campaigners, including the RMT, who have played a pivotal role, will not be derailed from opposing Metro privatisation.

This episode further highlights both the need for a new workers' party and the need for fighting trade unions that will campaign against the privateers.

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In The Socialist 28 January 2009:

JOIN THE MARCH FOR JOBS

Defend jobs and services

Era of illusions in capitalism ending

The crisis in manufacturing: Fighting for jobs and living standards

No pay discrimination against young people

Ferengi dealers


Slaughter in Gaza

Coventry protest over Gaza onslaught

Israel: Thousands march in Jaffa against Gaza massacre

Students' angry sit-ins


Anti-racism

Stop the racist BNP

Stop the deportation of Yahya Al-Faifi


Socialist Party campaigns

Socialist councillor opposes Tory plans for education privatisation

Labour's abandoning of the working class

Croydon: Striking against academies

Scotland: Step up opposition to cuts

Fast News


Socialist Party workplace news

Fighting council cuts

Say 'no' to the Metro privateers

Amicus Unity Gazette left with egg on its face

Unison right wing exposed

Victory for left in Glasgow Unison

Solid support for Glasgow strike

Building a fighting Unison leadership


Education

Build a mass movement for free education

Save our school!


Marxist analysis: history

Germany 1919 The Spartacist uprising


International socialist news and analysis

Russia: Bosses sack auto-factory union leader

Courageous socialist activist, campaigning journalist and human rights activist


Socialist Party news

Obituary - Barry Malone


Socialist Party reviews

A People's History of Sports in the United States

The Reader


 

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