Thousands of transport workers in London to be furloughed from Monday

Thousands of transport workers in London are to be furloughed under moves to address the huge financial impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

Transport for London (TfL) said 7,000 staff whose work has been reduced or paused will be affected from Monday.

TfL will be able to access funding from the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, saving the organisation an estimated £15.8 million every four weeks.

Tube journeys have fallen by 95% and bus use by 85% since last month’s lockdown, with people urged only to make essential journeys.

TfL said its main source of income has almost “disappeared”.

The UK government’s scheme means TfL can access funding for 80% of the salary of furloughed staff up to a maximum of £2,500 (€2,865) a month, with the organisation making up the rest of salaries and continuing to pay pension contributions.

The affected staff – around a quarter of TfL’s workforce – will be placed on furlough for an initial period of three weeks.

London’s transport commissioner, Mike Brown said: “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.

“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%.

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“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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