Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/520/3777

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 February 2008

Tangled web at Metronet

OUTRAGEOUS, SCANDALOUS, disgraceful... are a few of the printable words to describe the government's 2 billion bail-out of Metronet - the failed London Underground infrastructure company.

Simon Carter

Metronet (comprising five allegedly 'world class' companies as shareholders - Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier, EDF and Thames Water) was awarded the franchise to maintain and improve two-thirds of the Underground network under Gordon Brown's 'public-private partnership' (PPP) venture. (The other 'third' is maintained by Tube Lines consortium.)

PPP was meant to be a cost-effective way of improving the Tube without involving large sums of public money. In reality, like all PPP and PFI privatisation schemes, it meant private profits paid for out of public funds.

Under PPP, Metronet received about 70 million a month of government money, pocketing about 1 million a week in profits. But still it ran out of cash, forcing it into administration last July. Under the 2003 PPP contracts, the government effectively guaranteed 95% of Metronet's borrowings.

In July 2007 a London Underground Central Line train was derailed, trapping 800 passengers underground for about two hours. Passengers feared they were victims of a terrorist attack. In fact they were victims of gross negligence by Balfour Beatty, one of the companies working under Metronet. The company had stored some equipment badly and it had come loose, falling across the track.

Another problem arising from the Underground's fragmentation is that Metronet's signalling equipment on tracks and trains - contracted to Bombardier and supplied by Westinghouse - is not compatible with equipment from Alcatel, a rival, for Tube Lines' track and trains.

Metronet's failure and the unwillingness of other private sector companies to take on the task of tube track maintenance, has led to Metronet being taken back into the public sector under the wing of Transport for London (TfL- the London mayor's transport organisation),

Arguments between Bombardier and TfL over Bombardier's contract with Metronet, have delayed the transfer.

Last April, rail union RMT members working for Metronet balloted for strikes to stop the transfer of their posts to Bombardier. The threatened action forced Metronet to back down.

The Metronet fiasco further exposes Brown's support for privatisation and New Labour's belief that private profit is the way to provide public services.

The only way London Underground and the national rail networks can ensure proper investment and a safe and reliable service, is if they are taken back into public ownership and democratically run under workers' control and management.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 13 February 2008:

Stop NHS privatisation now!


Local Government workers

Birmingham council workers' biggest strike for decades

'Single status' in the West Midlands

Bosses prepare to force through more cuts

Newham workers angry at councillors


Socialist Students

Uni Fees must be fought!

Feature: The great university swindle


War and terrorism

War and occupation in Iraq


Socialist Party news and analysis

Defend abortion rights

Millionaire welcomes economic recession!

Northern Rock

Liverpool's tale of two cities

Cardiff marches to save schools

100 people pack London world economy meeting


Transport

Cuts and backlogs cause delays

Tangled web at Metronet


International socialist news and analysis

Polish miners gain strike victory due to iron determination

Chad conflict - part of a wider power struggle


Interview

Prison officers: Fighting for trade union rights

Building the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Comment

Comment: Opportunist blunder further splits Church of England


Workplace news and analysis

Land Registry staff vote for action

London Underground: Strike ballot in safety row

Campaign Against Climate Change trade union conference

Organise and fight back!

Shelter staff ballot for action


 

Home   |   The Socialist 13 February 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

PPP:

trianglePFI privateers dodge tax

London underground:

triangleTransport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

triangleTransport union RMT tells members: refuse to work in unsafe conditions

triangleTories put profit before lives - unions must stand firm on workplace safety

Transport:

triangleOnline rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!

triangleFight continues for safety on London buses

Rail:

triangleThe Red Line - Bulletin of Socialist Party members in the RMT

Privatisation:

triangleHugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

23/9/20

The Socialist

The Socialist: More than a newspaper

23/9/20

Coventry

Coventry: Socialist Students is back

23/9/20

Liverpool

Liverpool Council must save care homes

23/9/20

Sussex

Sussex: Hands off Peacehaven schools

23/9/20

Fighting Fund

Fighting fund: One week to raise 3,444

23/9/20

Cardiff

Workplace news in brief

23/9/20

Schools

Dispatches from the front - chaotic schools are not safe!

16/9/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist

16/9/20

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party: Tories and Blairites only care about corporate greed

16/9/20

Young people

Covid generation says 'fund our future'

16/9/20

Coventry

Coventry: scrap 'profit before people' hospital parking charges

16/9/20

National Shop Stewards Network

Lobbying for a lead from the TUC

16/9/20

NHS

Angry health workers demand 15% now!

16/9/20

Usdaw

Reinstate Richie Venton

16/9/20

Hull

Reinstate Tony Smith

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999