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Reverse cuts to London's transport budget!

31 October 2016

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes is seeking urgent meetings with Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond and Transport Minister Chris Grayling to ask them to intervene immediately to reverse the cuts to London's transport budget.

Following a meeting with London Underground reps on Friday 28 October, TSSA who have voted unanimously in favour of strike action, tube stoppages are now inevitable unless the Chancellor averts them with a promise to reinstate Transport for London (TfL)'s operating grant in next month's Financial Statement to enable booking offices to reopen and the dangerous staff cuts to be reversed.

The £700 million central government annual operating subsidy was withdrawn by George Osborne in his Financial Statement in November last year.

TSSA have won support for our campaign to restore the TfL grant from Labour's Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Transport Minister, Andy MacDonald both of whom will take the call for a restoration of the grant into Parliament.

Cortes wants to ensure both Ministers understand the shock-fallout from such a huge and rapid loss of funding - which have already cost over 800 jobs and ushered in drastic changes in working practices - have so significantly reduced the safety of LU as a workplaces and and major public transport thoroughfares and made life-threatening incidents more likely.

He will also pass on staff anxieties about the gaping holes that have appeared in emergency security systems, evacuation procedures and inter-agency security protocol revealed by the "bomb incident" on the Jubilee Line at Greenwich North two weeks ago.

Says Manuel Cortes:

"To put it bluntly, our staff are now scared of going to work, our reps are very heated and with good reason: they believe not just their safety but their lives - and the safety and lives of passengers - are being jeopardised by cuts imposed on the tube by George Osborne and Boris Johnson.

"The taking out of essential safety critical staff - including 240 dedicated CCTV monitor supervisors - and the hundreds of staff who were trained in station evacuation procedures must be reversed. The bomb incident at Greenwich was for them the last straw, because it has revealed the safety procedures on TfL are not fit for purpose.

"Some of the stories associated with the cuts are harrowing and I want a meeting with Mr Hammond and Mr Grayling to ensure personally that they hear just how alarming the situation is.

"No other major city in the world runs a transport system without public subsidy and the Tory's must stop making London a test-lab. This market-experiment is not just failing Londoners it's endangering us all and it needs to end now.

"The decision to cut the subsidy was a political one and it needs a political one to reverse it. Our members are fed up with being treated as test rats and fed up that public safety is reduced to a commodity - and the mood to strike on this issue is very much there. Our reps voted unanimously for us to hold an industrial action ballot and preparations are now underway.

"We are also building cross-party support against these brutal Tory cuts and are heartened to have John McDonnell and Andy McDonald on board. London Transport can only be safely run on a budget not a shoestring.

"I hope Phillip Hammond and Chris Grayling will be open to a meeting and will have better regard than their predecessors for travelling public and transport workers safety. "

Said Andy McDonald:

"The demands now on TfL to function without any operating grant at all from central coffers is going to be immensely challenging. No other major international city of London's stature is expected to do so.

"It says a great deal about the appalling mishandling of the economy by the Tories since 2010 that the financial mechanism that underpins our capital's public transport network cannot be sustained." 

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