29 June 2020
RMT Press Office
RMT says new Transport for London Commissioner must give Underground cleaners the same free travel pass he is entitled to
On the day that new Transport for London Commissioner Andy Byford starts work [Monday 29 June], RMT called on him to put a stop to a shameful injustice by giving London’s heroic Underground cleaners the same TfL travel pass that he and the Mayor are entitled to.
In addition to his base salary of £355,000, as a TfL employee Mr Byford, like the Mayor, is entitled to a TfL travel pass allowing free travel across the TfL network. The unsung cleaning heroes who have risked their lives to clean Underground stations and trains throughout the coronavirus epidemic do not get this benefit because they have been outsourced to a US company called ABM.
In spite of praising their ‘amazing work’, TfL and the Mayor have so far refused to extend the travel pass to the cleaners claiming that they cannot afford it. But in a report on Free Travel on the TfL Network (link in editors’ notes below), RMT can reveal that both the existing and previous Mayor had admitted there is “no and nil cost” cost to providing the pass .
RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch said;
“Mr Byford knows the Underground well, he must know that what TfL are doing is just plain wrong. We’re calling on him to make a fresh start and allow tube cleaners the same free travel pass that he and the Mayor are entitled to.
“This small change will cost TfL almost nothing but it will make a big difference to the low paid cleaners who put their lives on the line every day to keep the travelling public safe.”
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 .
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.”