Covid-19: Transport for London furloughs 7,000 staff

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Yesterday (27 April 2020) Transport for London (TfL) took advantage of the UK’s coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, by placing 7,000 staff on furlough – meaning the government will pick up a significant proportion of the wage bill for staff who are temporarily not needed, saving the organisation an estimated £15.8m every four weeks.
Since London entered lockdown on 23 March, TfL has – as part of the national strategy to beat the virus –been urging Londoners to only make essential journeys. The vast majority of Londoners have listened to TfL and the Mayor of London’s advice to stay at home, to not travel and so save lives.
The success of this vital advice has seen Tube journeys fall by 95% and journeys on buses fall by 85%. However, this has meant that TfL’s main source of income has almost disappeared.
TfL says that constructive discussions continue with government on the wider revenue support that TfL will need to continue the effective operation of London’s transport network.
The Government’s Job Retention Scheme means TfL can access funding for 80% of the salary of furloughed staff up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. TfL has carefully assessed which roles within the organisation are suitable for the scheme, ensuring that all staff required for recovery planning and delivery are retained.
7,000 staff will be placed on furlough, for an initial period of three weeks. This represents around 25% of the workforce employed. TfL will pay the remainder of salaries of all furloughed employees and continue to pay pension contributions, to ensure that people are supported.

“The transport network is crucial in the fight to tackle coronavirus and it will play a similarly vital role in supporting the country’s economy as it recovers from the pandemic,” says London’s transport commissioner, Mike Brown (left). “We have significantly cut our costs over recent years but nevertheless the success of encouraging the vast majority of people to stay at home has seen our main revenue, fares, reduce by 90%.”

“We are now taking steps to use the government’s Job Retention Scheme to further reduce our costs where work has been paused because of the virus, while at the same time supporting our staff financially. Our work with the government about the support that we need are ongoing and are constructive. We hope for an urgent agreement so that we can continue to provide the city with the vital transport it needs now and going forward.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).