TfL's "Independent Review" says workers and passengers should pay for the crisis!

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 17:53,
TfL Independent Review

The "Independent Review" into transport funding commissioned by the Mayor and the TfL Board has now been published. Remember, this was the "independent" alternative to the KPMG-led review commissioned by the Department for Transport, which - although we can't know for sure, as it hasn't been made public - we assume is driving the DfT's demands for cuts and "workplace reforms".

The hopeful (or, perhaps, naïve) amongst us might've anticipated TfL's own review standing up for workers and passengers, and demanding more public funding for public transport. Such hopes would sadly have been misplaced.

The review strongly recommends attacks on workers' pensions, and says cuts to services can't be ruled out either. In summary, it's one long argument for workers and passengers - rather than bosses, big business, and the rich (i.e., the people with money and power) - being made to pay for the funding crisis.

The review strongly recommends “reforms”, meaning cuts, to the TfL staff pension scheme (p31). The scheme is already discriminatory, as it excludes outsourced workers. The review suggests closing it to new entrants, which would create further inequality between workers.

Cuts to staffing levels and services are also considered (p28). Staffing levels on stations have already been cut substantially in recent years. Although the review doesn’t explicitly recommend service cuts, it wants to keep things “under review”, and suggests “smaller scale service reductions could be justifiable.” (p29)

Fare increases are explicitly recommended (p34), as is the continued withdrawal of the 60+ Freedom Pass from use in the morning peak (p37). The review explicitly opposes sourcing ring-fenced transport funding from taxation of businesses which profit from the functioning of public transport, a relatively mild form of which already operates in Paris (p48).

The report rules out lobbying the government to permanently reinstated a fix central government subsidy (p52), and propose regressive forms of taxation, such as VAT (p49) and council tax models (p44), to fund transport.

The report can be read in full here.

While TfL and LU bosses are under no obligation to implement the recommendations of the review, there's absolutely no question that the review will embolden and encourage them to launch attacks on our terms and conditions. Let's not wait for those attacks to come... let's make positive demands for the changes we want to see, including no detrimental changes to terms and conditions, including pensions, and if the bosses won't commit to that, let's ballot for action.

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