London Underground (LU) called an ad hoc meeting on Wednesday that featured a presentation making it clear plans are about to be accelerated at LU to discuss change involving some kind of cuts package.
No exact details were provided other than emphasising the need for change, the financial challenges and conditions attached to Government's short term funding deal across Transport for London (TfL).
A review of pensions and business case for driverless trains have been mentioned. Job cuts will be inevitable, but no announcement or proposals were made. The presentation was merely to emphasise the challenges ahead and clearly sowing the seeds for change.
TfL is now on its third short-term funding deal and negotiations continue with Department for Transport (DfT) to secure a long-term funding arrangement.
In short, TfL needs to be self-sustainable by 2023 requiring the need for significant cost savings to be identified. Both the Mayor and TfL's hands have been tied behind their backs – having faced a stark choice between securing rolling funding deals or bankruptcy.
Consequently, the latest financial package now requires a review of LU's business network with plans now accelerated to identify where cost savings can be made. The message is stark – TfL continues to face unprecedented financial challenges benchmarked against five main priorities:
Long-term funding plan and financial business model – self sustainable by April 2023
Investment for Northern line extension, Crossrail and opening of EL line, signal upgrades etc.
Changes in passenger behaviour with office moves to home working, online shopping, drop in tourism - getting passengers back on to public transport to boost revenue
Staff and customers at centre of LU's business
Zero-carbon emissions target by 2030
Another meeting is being called week beginning 5 July, though no date been set yet. In the meantime, our union will holding meetings with our reps.
LU have said a briefing will be communicated to everyone on the challenges that lie ahead. There will be another meeting held at the next company council when they will be looking for our feedback over how best to engage with each other going forward.
A commitment has been given by the MD to remain open and transparent, working with the unions to consult and negotiate within the parameters of our bargaining machinery.
We have a shared responsibility across TSSA to work together as one, on all levels to support our members through change and to mitigate any potential threat to jobs, pensions and staffs' employment conditions. This we will do.