RMT calls on Mayor to help Underground cleaners

RMT calls on Mayor to help Underground cleaners

28 May 2020

RMT Press Office:

RMT calls on Mayor and the Government to stop the blame game and help the Underground’s heroic cleaners

RMT today called on the Mayor and the government to stop pointing the finger at each other and put their money where their mouths are by helping the heroic cleaners who have fought to keep the Underground safe since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the capital.

The union had asked the Mayor to intervene to grant the cleaners free travel on the Underground during a crisis in which they are literally putting their lives on the line every day. This would bring them in line with TfL employees, London Assembly members, the Metropolitan Police, police in the surrounding counties, special constables and service men and women in uniform who can all travel across the TfL network without charge.

On 27 May, Sadiq replied that he was unable to do so as “Government is now seeking to exercise oversight of many of the financial decisions that TfL is making and the deal we have struck contains a number of Government imposed conditions. In this context, I regret, I do not feel able to override TfL’s decision on this matter.”

Yet the union pointed out that both Boris Johnson, during his time as Mayor, and his successor Sadiq Khan are on record as saying that the costs of providing free travel are virtually nil.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,

“Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan are both on the record praising the amazing work that cleaners are doing throughout this crisis, yet when it comes to actually doing a little thing to help them, they indulge in a political blame game at the expense of the people who go down into the Tube every day and night, putting their lives on the line to keep Londoners safe.

“Boris and Sadiq both know it would cost virtually nothing to give these cleaners free travel. This is politics at the expense of people. I think it’s a disgrace and I bet most Londoners would agree.”


Notes for editors

1. RMT has produced a short report on Free Travel on the TfL Network, which you can download here: https://bit.ly/2XQIaUj This includes a calculation of its possible cost.

2. A list of who currently gets free travel on the TfL network:

• The Mayor of London and London Assembly Members receive, on request, an annual travelcard up to zone six.
• All Transport for London personnel are issued with travel cards which provide travel across the TfL network and 75 per cent reimbursement of a season ticket on the rail network, subject to taxation.
• The Metropolitan Police are able to access TfL services in London free of charge.
• Police in counties surrounding London like Hertfordshire get free travel in the capital.
• ‘Special constables’ the trained volunteers who support the police, receive free travel on London Transport, including: Buses, Underground, Croydon Tram link, DLR and London Overland routes including national rail.
• From 2012 onwards, members of the armed forces travelling in uniform were given free travel on TfL networks.

3. The cost to TfL:
In 2013, when explaining the importance of travel passes for TfL staff, Boris Johnson said,
“Travel passes are seen as part of staff recruitment and retention. TfL estimates that the actual cost of providing free travel to staff and their nominees on TfL services is nil, as much of this travel is for work purposes and the remainder is insufficient to require additional services to be operated to cope with it.”
In 2018, Sadiq Khan made the same point in defending TfL’s scheme of giving its employees nominee passes. He said:
“This benefit is a long-standing part of the terms and conditions of Transport for London (TfL) staff. There is no ‘cost’ to TfL because the number of journeys is a tiny proportion of the 11m Tube and bus journeys made per day, meaning no additional services need to be operated.”

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Tagged with: London Underground, tube, lul, tfl, abm, cleaners, Sadiq Khan,