The government is once again trying to water down our fire safety regulations.
The 'Section 12' regulations came into force in 1989 in the wake of the King's Cross fire two years previously. They include: minimum staffing levels; staff training requirements; detection, compartmentation and suppression; means of escape; and several other crucial laws.
But New Labour seems to think that these can be replaced by a regime of 'self-regulation', where London Underground gets to decide the rules itself through risk assessment process. Tony's cronies reckon that Section 12 is 'too proscriptive'. But fire safety laws should be proscriptive - lives are at stake.
LUL, functioning as a business, will be under commercial pressure to assess the risks as less severe than they actually are, and so to cut back on safety measures, risking the lives of staff and passengers.
If the legal regulations are weakened, expect to see minimum staffing levels cuts, training standards, slacken, stations kept open when fire-fighting systems fail, etc etc etc.
RMT, ASLEF and the FBU have called a national demonstration in defence of fire safety laws on Saturday 26 November at 11.30am outside King's Cross station. Speakers will include RMT general secretary Bob Crow, Aslef general secretary Keith Norman, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack, John McDonnell MP and TUC south-east regional secretary Mick Connolly.
For more details - and downloadable publicity - click here.