The RMT union is planning a strike ballot next week following news that TfL plans to cut up to 600 jobs in the customer service side of the London Underground.

TfL is not, currently, planning to make people redundant but will look at whether people should be replaced if they leave. The plans, if carried out would see TfL not recruiting around 250 Customer Services vacancies that are currently unfilled, as well as placing controls on future recruitment, with the aim of reducing posts by a further 250-350 as people retire or move on from TfL.

Overall, this would mean a reduction of around 500-600 posts compared to pre-pandemic staffing levels – although the precise number will depend on consultations with staff and unions.

If the cuts go ahead, then TfL would see the customer service workforce fall from around 5,000 to around 4,500 staff, although TfL has emphasised that even with the reduced workforce, it will still be able to keep stations fully staffed all day when they are open.

Nick Dent, London Underground’s Director of Customer Operations, said “We have been engaging with our trade unions and our staff to seek their views on how we can make London Underground (LU) more efficient and financially sustainable, while continuing to deliver the highest standards of safety, reliability and customer service. We have now begun consulting with our trade unions on proposals to change the way we work in the Customer Service area of LU.”

TfL argues that as customers have changed their travel habits, not just because of the pandemic, but because of existing trends, such as using contactless payments instead of buying tickets and using their smartphone to look up travel information, then it doesn’t need as many staff in the stations to assist customers.

They have confirmed though that the “Turn Up and Go” service will continue, with staff on hand to assist mobility-impaired customers.

TfL says that its impact assessment showed that there would be no detriment to public safety, but the RMT though says that this is the “opening shot in a programme of jobs carnage that will target safety critical station grades”.

General Secretary Mick Lynch said, “A financial crisis at TFL has been deliberately engineered by the Government to drive a cuts agenda which would savage jobs, services, safety and threaten the working conditions and‎ pensions of our members.”

The RMT union will start a ballot of over 10,000 members across all grades from next week, seeking a mandate for strike action.

In other strike news, talks are ongoing to avert the ongoing series of Night Tube strikes, with the RMT seeking 200 additional drivers to be employed by TfL, while TfL is resisting reportedly due to the cost of training the new train drivers as a time of constrained finances.

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3 comments
  1. ChrisC says:

    So no one currently employed will lose their jobs?

    If they were then the RMT might have a point in protecting jobs.

    But that’s not the situation at all.

    If the government took TFL over you can bet your bottom pound in your pocket that the government would be making people redundant not just not filling vacancies.

  2. Ken Leach says:

    Can’t use the pandemic as a excuse for reducing staff on gate line or platforms. Agreed that at present customer numbers are at a all time low. However that was increasing. If there is going to be a reduction by natural occurrence. At present the stations can only just sustain the lower staff levels. 250 vacancies. Once customer footfall is increased. Then what happens. I assume that staffing levels will be processed through risk assessments or minimum staff required to safely run the individual station. Also using the way customers now pay for tickets is no different now than was before the pandemic. The reasoning why the staff reduction is because the Government want Tfl to break even. If stations or line close. The impact on London commute is grid locked. It should be recognised how important it is. It is the backbone of any commerce in London. The driving force throughout the country is driven from London. So yes it is fair to give the required funds. We bailed out major banks Billions of pounds no one cared. So why not Tfl business model regarding revenue will clearly need to change. They have already asked to look at and review the “gold “ pension scheme.

  3. David Thomas says:

    Many many years ago several adjacent central Paris metro stations closed on Sundays. Watch for those little symbols and explanation note to start appearing on the London tube map…….

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