TfL funding cuts. Update on talks today.
This afternoon (Tuesday July 13th) the trade unions met with LU senior management again to discuss the financial situation facing the company. This was designed as a feedback session following a meeting on June 23rd when we were given a presentation on the latest government funding settlement.
This is another short-term package that runs until December 11th and has many strings attached, including a requirement that TfL review its pension fund, prepare a business case for driverless trains, and a plan to be financially sustainable (meaning meeting all operational costs from revenue) by April 2023.
The Managing Director said that they would abide by and work within the agreed machinery of negotiation. They will continue to push for a long-term funding deal, but it is possible that all the Government will offer is more short term funding. Management said they want to continue dialogue with the TU’s but billions of pounds of revenue has been lost and they don’t expect to get back to pre-covid ridership levels in the future. There will be around a billion pounds less revenue every year if only 80% of passengers return. That is why they want permanent changes.
ASLEF reiterated our position that while we will take part in meetings through the machinery of negotiation, this will be to protect the interests of our members, not to identify cuts or assist management in making them. Our members have twice already delivered a huge mandate to take strike action if management do not abide by agreements.
Management said they had received questions and suggestions from the “frontline” on ways to save money while protecting jobs.
· There is still no update on how the pension review the government is insisting on will take place. (A Pensions Working Group meeting is scheduled for July 20th)
· A review of service levels will take place in September which will feed into future timetables. Management say they do not want to see cuts to services.
· There is no planned date for Night Tube to return.
· Voluntary severance; there is no current proposals on job losses but will have to look at all options.
· Fare evasion. Reducing this is a big opportunity for saving.
· The need is for recurring savings not just one-off cost saving
· 65% of the £2 billion operating cost of the Underground is staff costs (pay, national pension etc. 96 million in staff costs have been saved so far. Over 50% of savings have come from supply chain so far.
Management said that they are dealing with staff questions via Yammer and management briefings. ASLEF pointed out that this can not be used to undermine TU reps and the agreed machinery. Any attempt to do so will trigger a response. They reiterated that they would honour the machinery. Time will tell !
Next meting will be on the Thursday 22nd where management said they will share the high-level options they have identified.
We will send out another update after that meeting.
Finn Brennan. ASLEF District Organiser.