A Thousand London Transport Jobs To Go? Our Unions Must Fight!

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Fri, 30/01/2009 - 14:17,

The press today is full of the reports of a thousand job losses on TfL/LUL. Check here, here, here and here for starters.

TfL bosses claim that all the job cuts will be amongst 'backroom', admin staff - as though that makes it OK. If they meant that some of the overpaid fat cats at the top would be shown the door, then we could live with that, but that is most certainly not what they mean. In the firing line instead will be people who are part of all our joint effort to keep London's transport running, in finance, IT, human resources, procurement, legal and administration.

TfL says these jobs must go because of a £2.4billion 'black hole' in its financing. The government could fill that hole with an awful lot less money than it has already lavished on the banks - the institutions which, after all, brought about the economic crisis to start with.

TfL bosses would give no more detail of the financial problems to union officials. What have they got to hide? If the company is looking for solutions, it should open the books and let us have a look! We feel confident that workers could pore through the balance sheets and come up with some ideas. Top three on the list would be: undoing the fragmentation wrought by PPP and other privatisations; trimming the fat from the fat-cat salaries and bonuses; and demanding decent public funding for a public service.

The unions must fight these job cuts. As the recession sees thousands of jobs go every day, someone has to stand a stand and call a halt to the jobs carnage. We have the level of organisation and industrial muscle to put up a fight, so that's what we must do. We are in a stronger position than, for example, workers at Woolworths, for whom striking seemed pointless as the shops were shutting anyway. By contrast, London's transport is not a bankrupt private company and is not closing down. If we fight back, this could even help to unionise and galvanise workers in admin grades and so make us even stronger.

So it is disappointing to see that RMT's opening line is to declare that it will resist compulsory redundancies. Instead, it should pledge to resist the job cuts per se. It is not OK to lose 1,000 jobs so long as everyone goes voluntarily. What about those left behind with twice the workload? What about the frontline staff with less 'backroom' support? And what about extra unemployment?!

We will undoubtedly have to strike to stop this jobs carnage. Immediately, the unions should call protest actions, mobilising workers and winning public support.

Tubeworker topics
Trade Unions


Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 30/01/2009 - 17:17

Yes, good point. All the more reason why the unions should demand that the companies open their books for us to inspect. We would unearth all kinds of stuff like this - money wasted while jobs are under threat.

We shouldn't then allow ourselves to be drawn into the role of proposing alternative cuts to management's. As well as identifying waste, we would also have to conclude that London's transport should receive public funding rather than be forced to operate as a private business.

Submitted by Becky on Tue, 03/02/2009 - 14:19

Amongst some operational staff there is a feeling that Tfl is a swolen bureaucracy which employs far too many people to do 'pointless' jobs, while we struggle with bare minimum staff. If some operational staff don't exactly welcome these jobs cuts, there is a bit of an attitude that they don't matter cos they're not cutting the 'important' workers. It's easy to say these job cuts don't matter cos they don't directly affect 'us'. Tfl does employ far too many managers to do goodness knows what. There is an entire department recruited by Livingstone dedicated to rubbishing the RMT. In addition to the mega fat cats, there are 123 Tfl bosses on over £100,000 a year. But whose jobs are actually going? I doubt it's a cull of overpaid managers and suspect it will be low-grade support staff. With their bosses telling them they are unimportant, the last thing we should do is chime in that we think their jobs are unimportant too! But some people have also recognised that we are all part of delivering the same service, and would help to fight these redundancies. Everyone can see that with unemployment rising, a bigger pool of unemployed people is a bad thing for those in work or out of it. The question is how operational staff can help the fight.

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.