Coronavirus: TfL set to furlough 7,000 workers as Covid-19 lockdown hits main income source

Stock image of staff member wiping down handrails part of enhanced cleaning procedures that Transpor

Stock image of staff member wiping down handrails part of enhanced cleaning procedures that Transport for London (TfL) have introduced across the network in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/ PA - Credit: PA

Transport for London (TfL) will furlough 7,000 staff members as of Monday in a cost-cutting exercise aimed at safeguarding vital transport services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

TfL will furlough staff members whose work has been reduced or paused due to the coronavirus crisis, enabling it to claim from the government’s job retention scheme and save an estimated £15.8million a month.

About 25 per cent of TfL’s workforce will be furloughed, initially for a three week period.

The scheme allows employers to claim for 80pc of affected workers wages from central government, capped at £2,500. Furloughed staff remain on their employer’s books.

Since London entered lockdown on March 23, TfL has been urging Londoners to only make essential journeys. This has seen Tube journeys fall by 95pc and trips on buses down 85pc. This has decimated TfL’s main source of income.

London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown, MVO 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 per cent. 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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