The announcement that Transport for London (TfL) has been forced to accept significant cost savings in order to receive a billion pound government bailout must not result in cuts to members pay, pensions, safety or wellbeing, Unite the UK’s leading union, has warned.

Pandemic bailout

TfL has been forced to request a further bailout from the government as revenues are currently only at 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. The bailout will last until December this year.

The bailout comes with significant strings attached including requirements for TfL to: review its pension scheme, review demand and service levels, a plan for self-funding by 2023, identify new sources of income and develop a business plan for driverless trains.

Pay freeze threat

It has also been made clear to TfL that the government expects them to abide by the pay freezes and pay restraint policies that are in place across much of the public sector.

Unite which represents workers directly employed by TfL, as well as those employed on London buses and London Underground has made it clear that it will not accept any cuts to members’ terms and conditions including their pensions.

Cuts to hit recovery

Unite is further concerned that cuts to service levels will affect London’s recovery and will deter tourists from using public transport. London will be faced with a car led recovery with emission commitments being missed. Cuts to services will make it more difficult to become self-funding by 2023.

Workers disgracefully treated

Unite regional officer Simon McCartney said: “Our members have rightly been applauded as heroes since the start of the pandemic. It is a total disgrace that the government thinks an acceptable reward for this selfless service is cuts to their pay, conditions and pensions.

 “The need for a bailout is a direct consequence of the pandemic and its effect on income levels, the government should not be using it as a stick to beat TfL and the Mayor of London with.

 “The plan to attack workers’ pensions is particularly worrying. Pensions are a workers’ deferred wages and any attempted changes will be fully resisted by Unite.

 “A review of service levels must not result in cuts to bus routes or the frequency of services as this will simply increase overcrowding and make social distancing impossible, endangering the safety of the general public.

 “While Unite recognises that TfL will be faced with many difficult challenges in the coming months it is absolutely essential that unions are fully consulted on any proposed changes which affect their members.”


Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.