by Socialist Party members in the RMT on London Underground
Transport for London (TfL) and the government published their responses to TfL’s pension review at the end of March. Both the government and TfL management say they can support transferring the TfL pension fund into the local government pension scheme (LGPS). This would mean tube workers facing increased employee contributions and losing around a third of our pensions, if retirement is taken at 60. There are many other detriments associated with transferring into the LGPS, including a shift of risk to employees in the event that the pension fund runs into deficit.
The risk to our pensions has driven six days of RMT strike action already, holding management at bay for a year, but now the risks to agreements on terms and conditions and job cuts is taking on a more immediate importance.
Reorganisations across London Underground’s engineering departments carry the threat of members being displaced into lower-paid roles, with only time-limited protection of earnings. Train operators have been asked to agree to extensive productivity measures that will casualise working arrangements and cut hundreds of jobs. On stations, management’s plan to cut 600 jobs is proceeding and the number of station closures, due to staff shortages, has exploded.
Further action will inevitably follow. The London Mayor has become nervous. He now says that pension reform, which was originally proposed by a committee he handpicked and commissioned, is not necessary. But these weasel words are not enough. He must decisively break with the Tory government attacks on tube workers and refuse to go any further with pension attacks. He should also refuse to make further cuts. He has delivered £400 million of cuts already but the government demands another £600 million.
RMT knows which side it is on and will fight to reverse cuts, win a realistic funding arrangement for TfL, and defend members’ jobs, pensions and agreements.