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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 May 2008

Johnson's Prince of Darkness

LONDON'S NEW Tory mayor Boris Johnson has appointed a ruthless private equity businessman as his "first deputy mayor" in charge of transport. Trade unionists label Tim Parker the 'Prince of Darkness' - Parker has been in charge at the AA, Kwik-Fit and Clarks Shoes and has a reputation for cutting jobs while cutting himself a lucrative deal from the situation.

Parker pocketed 30 million for himself out of AA when he left last year after sacking a third of the workforce and saddling AA/SAGA with 4.8 billion of debt. He arrived in his own Porsche to sack workers at Clark's shoes in Somerset. He made 25 million from his sacking spree at Kwik-Fit. Parker's so rich, he can afford to work for a 1 salary - obviously anticipating more such 'good tidings' in future.

Johnson pledged in the Greater London elections to sign a 'no-strike deal' with London's transport unions, which the unions oppose. Parker's appointment signals Johnson's readiness, at some stage, to attack the strength of these unions, in particular the militant RMT union on the tubes. The contradiction between public transport and private profit, already increased by the public private partnership (PPP) scheme in London Underground, will become even sharper.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow, said: "The world's finest metro system does not need an asset-stripper or a Prince of Darkness. Tube users and workers have already had more than a bellyful of privatisation with the huge waste and failure of the PPP and the collapse of private tube firm Metronet."

Unfortunately former mayor Ken Livingstone started the move towards big business running London's tubes. He refused to fight the Labour government's private public partnership plans and appointed a former union-buster Bob Kylie as his own transport supremo with a huge salary plus 2 million when he left in 2006.

The unions (and transport users) should now take note of Johnson's plans and prepare for stormy times ahead.

Roger Shrives

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In The Socialist 28 May 2008:

Build A New Workers' Party

Crewe and Nantwich 'no-win' by-election: Why New Labour lost

I told my union: "We need a new workers' party"

Westminster parties are remote from life

Campaign for a new workers' party: conference 2008

MPs' expensive expenses


Socialist Party campaigns

Tax the rich not the poor!

Exeter bomb explosion: Workers' unity needed against terrorism, war and deprivation

Johnson's Prince of Darkness

Them & Us

Greenwich - save our centres


Socialist Party women

Women welcome abortion rights victory: Now fight to extend rights


Youth and crime

Home secretary: "Tough on crime"...but not the causes

'Youth justice': repressive measures do not work


Socialist Party feature

'Counter-terrorism' legislation threatens our democratic rights


International socialist analysis

South Africa: Attacks on refugees and migrants reveal capitalism's barbaric underbelly


Socialist Party review

The Wire - Reviewed by Michael Wrack


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference: More battles ahead on pay and jobs

Usdaw general secretary election: Members want democratic debate

Industrial news in brief


 

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Related links:

London:

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Transport:

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Metronet:

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Bob Crow:

triangleThe left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate

Boris Johnson:

triangleTory infighting escalates - workers' action can oust them

London underground:

triangleJustice for Tube cleaners demo

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