Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SURRENDER; Mayor's Bumper Deal to End Tube Strikes Will Mean [Pounds Sterling]6.5m Bill

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SURRENDER; Mayor's Bumper Deal to End Tube Strikes Will Mean [Pounds Sterling]6.5m Bill

Article excerpt

Byline: DICK MURRAY;PATRICK SAWER;WAYNE VEYSEY

KEN LIVINGSTONE today faces legal action over his decision to cave in to the unions by offering them more money to call off the Tube strikes.

He is accused of surrendering to the "worst kind of trade union militancy" by agreeing a bumper pay package which will be backdated to 1 April this year. The cost to London's commuters and tax payers will be an extra pound sterling6.5million.

Opponents of the Mayor were today consulting lawyers over whether he had exceeded his legal powers by intervening and undermining London Underground's resolve to take on the union barons by steadfastly refusing to increase the three per cent pay offer to the Tube drivers, who earn pound sterling31,000 a year.

The pay award the Mayor is putting forward would add an extra one per cent to LU's offer.

For drivers this will mean their salaries increasing to pound sterling32,524 rather than pound sterling32,212.

Mr Livingstone, who has outspokenly supported the unions' right to plunge transport in London into chaos, also launched a savage and personal attack on Bob Mason, LU's director of human resources, who had stood up to the unions and denied their claim for more money.

Mr Livingstone said he would not give him the job of "cleaning my toilet".

Meanwhile union leaders were jubilant.

Bob Crow, the militant general secretary of the RMT - who has said he would like to see his members paid more than pound sterling90,000 a year - today said the Mayor's promise represented "a big Easter present" for his members. He hailed the Mayor's "excellent" negotiating skills.

Criticism of the Mayor centres on the fact that he does not take control of the Tube until next April.

Tim Collins, the shadow transport secretary, said he would be consulting lawyers "to seek their advice on whether the Mayor has acted unlawfully.

"We reserve the right to consider legal action if we receive advice that Ken Livingstone has exceeded his powers, " he said.

"Londoners will be delighted that the Tube strikes are now off - but horrified that Ken Livingstone has capitulated completely to the worst kind of trade union militancy. …

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