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Transport for London to place 7,000 staff on furlough

Coronavirus: TfL will stand down a quarter of workforce as loss of fares bites

Mark Moran
24 April 2020
London Transport Commissioner Mike Brown
London Transport Commissioner Mike Brown


Transport for London is to place 7,000 staff whose work has been reduced or paused as a result of the coronavirus pandemic on furlough from Monday.

The move will allow TfL to access funding from the Government's Job Retention Scheme, saving the organisation an estimated £15.8m every four weeks.

TfL said furloughing staff will partly reduce the financial impact of coronavirus whilst discussions continue with Government on revenue support needed to continue the effective operation of London's transport network.

Since London entered lockdown on 23 March, TfL has backed the national strategy to beat the virus and been urging Londoners to only make essential journeys.

With the vast majority of Londoners listening to advice to stay at home and not travel 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 said it 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.

Some 7,000 staff will be placed on furlough, for an initial period of three weeks. This represents around 25% of the workforce employed.

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 will pay the remainder of salaries of all furloughed employees and continue to pay pension contributions, to ensure that people are supported.

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%.

“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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