London Underground operator TfL is trimming 1,400 jobs in a bid to cut spending, unions claim. The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said £5.5bn is to be cut from TfL’s budget by 2021. Roles affected across the transport network are thought to include those in engineering and across London Underground, according to the union.
Unions: Cuts so close to 30th anniversary of Kings Cross Fire are ‘appalling’
The figures emerged following a meeting between the RMT and Tube bosses on Tuesday.
“All the Tube and TfL unions have been sent written details of the next phase in the wrongly named transformation process,” said Mick Cash, the RMT’s general secretary.
“As part of the Mayor’s efforts to slash spending by £5.5 billion by 2021, we are now being told that the company plan to cut up to 1,400 jobs in engineering in TfL and in some areas of LU.
“RMT demands that no cuts take place, so close to the King’s Cross fire anniversary. It would be appalling if there was any hacking back on safety.
“The Mayor needs to stand up for TfL and demand restoration of the full capital grant and proper central government funding for the Tube.”
In November 1987, a major fire at Kings Cross St Pancras Underground station killed 31 people and injured 100.
Tube operator’s overhaul is ‘largest ever’, says TfL
TfL said that did not “recognise the RMT’s number”. However, in a statement a TfL spokesperson said it was “undertaking the largest ever overhaul” of its organisation to “provide the most efficient and cost effective transport service for Londoners”.
“We have already reduced management layers and bureaucracy and merged functions in other areas to eliminate duplication and reliance on expensive agency staff.
“Over the next few months we will be consulting on further plans in a number of other managerial, support and other non-frontline areas across TfL and London Underground.
“None of this will compromise safety, which will always remain our top priority.”
‘Flabby’ TfL needed to be ‘reorganised’, said London’s Mayor, in bid to be self-sufficient
In December 2016, TfL issued a new five-year business plan which unveiled budget cuts of £800m by making 49 senior managerial redundancies and reducing spending on consultancy fees and the use of non-permanent staff.
At the time, Mayor Sadiq Khan said that a “flabby TfL” needed to be reorganised.
Following a £219m reduction in 2016/2017, Central Government funding for TfL is set to be phased out altogether after 2017/2018 and the transport operator is to become self-sufficient.
Grants and Crossrail funding accounted for 23% (£2.6bn) of the network’s total £10.2bn income in 2017/2018. Fares made up £4.8bn or 47% and are frozen until 2020 – the length of the Mayor’s term.
In last year’s annual report, TfL said it had cut day-to-day operating costs by £153m and earmarked £4bn of additional cost savings in the five year period to 2021/2022.