28 February 2022
RMT Press Office:
Mayor to make good on his own words over pensions and cuts.
On the eve of strikes that will shut down the Underground, RMT called for talks with Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan calling on him not to turn his back on tube workers by siding with a government he knows is wrong over pensions and cuts.
The union said it agreed with Sadiq Khan when he had previously told Labour Party members that;
‘Telling those people responsible for heroically keeping London moving throughout the pandemic that now is the time they need to pay more into their pension funds strikes me as neither fair nor reasonable. it is not their fault the pandemic struck and they have acted heroically.’
RMT also pointed out that in May last year, Mayor Khan had stated that he;
“....said clearly to the Government that it would be wrong and ill-judged to rush proposals for huge reforms to the pension schemes and conditions of TfL's key workers, who have done so much to keep our city moving during the pandemic”, noting that “It could also lead to industrial action which would be extremely costly to our city's economy.”
Yet last week the government announced that the Mayor had agreed that by 31st March he would submit proposals to the government to cut tube workers’ pensions.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said,
“Sadiq Khan knows that this raid on our members’ pensions and conditions is unfair and would lead to industrial action because he’s said it himself. Yet only last week we find out that the Mayor has agreed to submit proposals to the government that will result in attacks on those pensions.
"Which side is the Mayor on? The side of our members who risked their lives as key workers in Covid and are now, as he predicted, striking to defend livelihoods and future? Or is the Labour London Mayor on the side of a Tory government which wants to attack jobs, pensions, conditions and services?
"The Mayor can help us solve this dispute by agreeing to talks that fully address the concerns of his own workforce.
"Our members are central to the future of passenger safety and confidence on the Tube and they’ll be at the heart of London’s recovery. For the good of his workers and London’s economic recovery, Sadiq Khan needs to stand firm against the government, stop the pensions raid and end the job massacre.”
Notes for editors:
- In October 2020, Sadiq Khan wrote to Labour Party members saying that ‘Telling those people responsible for heroically keeping London moving throughout the pandemic that now is the time they need to pay more into their pension funds strikes me as neither fair nor reasonable. it is not their fault the pandemic struck and they have acted heroically this year.’ Sadiq Khan, Labour Party briefing, October 2020)
- In May 2021, Sadiq Khan wrote again to Labour Party members saying that he had “said clearly to the Government that it would be wrong and ill-judged to rush proposals for huge reforms to the pension schemes and conditions of TfL's key workers, who have done so much to keep our city moving during the pandemic. It could also lead to industrial action which would be extremely costly to our city's economy.”
- As RMT has shown in its latest briefing, there is no financial crisis in the TfL pension scheme and it is currently fully funded, a position that’s likely to be confirmed at its valuation:https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/publications/rmt-policy-briefing-lul-strike-action-march-2022/?preview=true
- The DfT’s press release from Friday states that “In this funding settlement, the Mayor will consult on the options he believes will raise between £500 million and £1 billion of additional yearly revenue from 2023. He will also be outlining options to achieve operating cost savings of up to £400 million in 2022 to 2023 and delivering against TfL’s accelerated modernisation plan while making significant progress in moving the pension fund into a financially sustainable position.” (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-200-million-deal-to-keep-vital-transport-for-london-services-running. The accompanying email states that ‘Within this next funding period the Mayor has agreed to…Make significant progress in moving the Pension Fund into a financially sustainable position”. In its Extraordinary Funding Letter, Grant Shapps says that: “As part of the review of TfL’s pension scheme, TfL will deliver a final report, including a recommended approach and implementation plan by no later than 31 March 2022. During the remainder of the Fourth Funding Period, TfL will consider and progress, as appropriate, any proposals that may be recommended by the final report in order to move the Fund into a financially sustainable position. TfL will be expected to provide regular substantive progress updates as well as a detailed work plan setting out the steps it intends to take to deliver the reports by the relevant deadlines.” The funding letter also makes it clear that any long-term capital funding for TfL Is dependent on delivering thee cuts and the pension reform: “HMG is also willing to consider a long-term capital funding settlement as set out in paragraph 9 to help TfL in achieving financial sustainability as soon as possible. Provided that TfL complies with the terms of this letter and through positive engagement, we hope to agree such a long-term deal before the end of the current financial year”. –(https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1057532/TfL-extraordinary-funding-and-financing-settlement-letter-25-February-2022.pdf)
- London Underground is planning to cut 600 station staff jobs (https://www.itv.com/news/london/2021-12-07/london-underground-to-axe-up-to-600-station-staff-jobs) – As RMT’s latest briefing shows, TfL knows that this is the wrong move and will damage passenger safety and confidence:https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/publications/rmt-policy-briefing-lul-strike-action-march-2022/?preview=true