TSSA raises safety concerns over London Underground staff cuts

London Underground sign

TSSA is raising concerns that proposed changes and cuts to front line tube staff as a result of the government’s failure to provide adequate public funding to Transport for London (TfL), will have long term impacts on passenger safety.

The union is calling on the government to stop setting unrealistic targets for cutting costs on the underground, so that the increasing numbers of passengers coming back to the London Underground can travel for work or leisure safely and with confidence.

Despite a sustained increase in ridership levels on London Underground TfL have proposed cutting 600 frontline customer service roles which raises concerns for safety of passengers.

In mid-July, ridership was back to 74% of pre-pandemic levels Monday to Friday, and at 85% at weekends. Trends are going upwards and during the Platinum Jubilee passenger numbers on the tube were at between 108-118% of the those for the same dates last year.

Staffing of large events like the Jubilee are boosted by TfL Travel Ambassadors. We have grave concerns that these volunteers do not have the training, skills or experience to safely manage the continued increase in passenger numbers.

Since the high-profile murders of women like Sarah Everard and sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman there has been a higher expectation to deal with sexual harassment on the Underground robustly. However, staff have not received training to deal with the victims needs and are concerned they are not visible enough to prevent these crimes from happening.

Indeed, in all of the top six London underground stations crime has gone up in recent months, including incidences of violent crime and sexual offences.

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said:

‘I’m hearing a number of concerns from our members who’ve worked on the Underground for decades. They describe this as an accident waiting to happen.

’Our members want to be there for victims of assault and crime and deal with their reports sensitively, but soon we just won’t have the numbers.

‘Our station emergency plans are for the safe and effective evacuation in case of an emergency. If temporary staff aren’t experienced or familiar enough with these procedures it could be serious and we don’t want to be saying this after the fact. The time to act is now."


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