London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has taken to BBC Radio London to announce that Transport for London may run out of money to pay staff by the end of April, and may need to cut services unless the government steps in.
It’s right that Khan should appeal to the government for funding; this is something he should’ve been doing loudly and vocally for years, pre-pandemic, joining unions in an active campaign of protest at the abolition of the government subsidy to TfL.
But he also has a responsibility to reassure and protect the workers who keep TfL running, many of whom are now concerned for their future. We should demand open books and full scrutiny of TfL’s and London Underground’s finances so workers, through our collective organisations (unions), can make our own assessment about how money is being spent. Highly-paid directors should have their salaries cut, and expensive and unnecessary managerial positions should be deleted, before any frontline worker loses out.
LU has assured unions that any worker who is furloughed will have their salary, pension, and job protected. But TfL’s initial announcement on furlough said that anyone on a non-permanent (i.e., fixed term) contract would be having their contract “reviewed”.
Mayor Khan and TfL/LU bosses need to give all workers — permanent and fixed term, directly employed and outsourced — assurances that their pay, conditions, and jobs will be protected.
Khan should add his voice to our demands for a properly funded transport system in London. Better late than never!