13 January 2021
RMT Press Office:
LONDON TRANSPORT UNION RMT today wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan demanding that he come clean on what plans TfL are putting to the government in order to secure more funding in March.
As part of the deal made at the end of last year, Sadiq Khan agreed to submit to the DfT proposals for returning the body to ‘financial sustainability’ following the devastation of its finances by the Covid-19 pandemic. This plan was submitted to the DfT yesterday but unions have not yet seen them.
In its own submissions to TfL’s review, the union has blasted the failed financial models of the past which sold the myth that public transport can be funded by passenger fares and called for a new settlement that puts in place long-term public funding and invests in staffing levels to encourage passengers to return once it’s safe to do so. The union also slammed the TfL’s own ’Independent Review’ for ignoring the case for proper public funding, failing to rule out future service cuts and targeting workers’ pensions and the union called on the Mayor to distance himself from these views. The government’s own review, conducted by consultancy KPMG, has never been disclosed in an unredacted form and remains largely secret.
In the letter RMT says:
“You will understand that this is an issue of the utmost concern for our members. Throughout the pandemic ,TfL’s workforce has gone over and above, putting their lives on the line and in far too many cases making the ultimate sacrifice in the course of going to work to keep London moving. You and others have described them as heroes and they along with our NHS workers have been clapped a supportive public. Now they face the anxiety of uncertainty about their futures as you and the government begin to negotiate over a new funding package for TfL in the knowledge that some people, scandalously, are gunning for their jobs, pay and pensions in retirement.
“You know RMT’s position already. We have repeatedly said that further attempts to cut public transport spending and services would be unjustifiable and a scandalous attack on working people, not to mention utterly self-defeating for anyone who wants to see the rebuilding of public transport in London. We will defend our members jobs and livelihoods with every weapon at our disposal. But I also want to remind you of what you’ve said in the past.
“In June last year you said, “I didn’t enter politics to administer Government austerity, and I will do everything in my power to persuade ministers not to force another era of austerity on local and regional government.” In October, you also, rightly, publicly criticised the government for keeping the KPMG report into TfL’s finances secret from yourself and TfL executives. It is a scandal that no one outside government has seen an unredacted copy of that report.
“London’s transport keyworkers will rightly expect a higher standard of conduct from you and the least that they deserve is to know that you are making good that pledge.”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said;
“We have written today to Sadiq Khan demanding full disclosure of the Financial Sustainability Plan. It is imperative that unions have access to this information as it has colossal implications for both our members and the services they provide to the travelling public.
“Negotiations are about to begin on the long-term future of public funding but Londoners and TfL’s workforce remain entirely in the dark. There’s been no public debate, no transparency and no democratic process. Instead, the future of our transport system and workers’ jobs, livelihoods and pensions are being determined in secret negotiations with positions likely to be fought out in press leaks.
“This is totally unfair to the tens of thousands of TfL workers who continue to put their lives on the line to provide their critical service and it’s no way to operate in a democratic society. Sadiq Khan said he didn’t come into politics to administer government austerity and he was rightly outraged at the government negotiating with him on the basis of secret reports.
“We’re calling on him to show that he’s different and that he’s backing our transport workers. He needs to show us the proposals he’s putting to the government and he needs to do this now.”