Tube Lines boss to quit as strike looms

TRANSPORT for London (TfL) has begun preparations to take over Tube Lines after overhauling the group’s management structure.

Tube Lines chief executive Andrew Cleaves will leave the company following the 30 June acquisition and will be replaced by former Metronet boss Andie Harper.

Harper will join Tube Lines this month from the stricken maintenance company, which he led through administration.

But speculation over the future of Tube Lines continues to grow as TfL faces a possible strike by workers who are worried about a possible threat to jobs, conditions and pay. The RMT rail union said its members employed by Tube Lines backed industrial action by a margin of nine to one.

The £310m acquisition of Tube Lines is at the heart of the dispute.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “We have made it perfectly clear to Transport for London that we do not expect our members to take the hit for the final collapse of the disastrous tube privatisation experiment.” The union’s executive will meet in the next few days to decide the next move.

TfL said it would carefully review the upgrade work needed for the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines. Claims that upgrades to the Piccadilly Line could be shelved for the next 10 years were dismissed by TfL.

Analysts are also suggesting that once TfL owns Tube Lines, it could bring the group back in line with its public private partnership structure.

“We said that when we acquire Tube Lines, there will no longer be any shareholders and we will wholly own it,” said a TfL spokesperson, who also added that the future structure of Tube Lines has not been decided.