Finance

Tube workers will get bumper pay rise above inflation rate from ‘cash-strapped’ Transport for London

London Underground workers are set to receive an above inflation pay rise under the final year of a long-term agreement.

The figure will be based on RPI inflation for February, which will be published in March, plus 0.2 per cent.

January’s inflation figure was 7.8 per cent.

Transport for London (TfL) is obliged to honor the agreement, despite the unforeseeable rise in inflation over the last year, while Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned the government that services will be heavily disrupted if funding is not boosted.

It comes as Mr Khan battles with MPs over who will pay for a £80million security overhaul of Parliament Square.

The Commons and Lords Speakers, local council, Greater London Assembly and other interested parties have now finally agreed a broad blueprint – including scrapping the busy road that runs outside Parliament and introducing a pedestrianized zone to reduce terror threats.

But the Mayor, who pledged to make the pedestrianization happen when he was first elected in 2016 – insisted that Transport for London is so strapped for cash it cannot contribute to the costs.

MPs on a key Commons committee have warned that could be a deal-breaker, as they are adamant Parliament should not foot the whole bill.

London Underground workers are set to receive an above inflation pay rise under the final year of a long-term agreement. The figure will be based on RPI inflation for February, which will be published in March, plus 0.2 per cent

Transport for London (TfL) is obliged to honor the agreement, despite the unforeseeable rise in inflation over the last year, while mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned the government that services will be heavily disrupted if funding is not boosted

Transport for London (TfL) is obliged to honor the agreement, despite the unforeseeable rise in inflation over the last year, while mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned the government that services will be heavily disrupted if funding is not boosted

A TfL spokesperson said: ‘We will shortly be entering the fourth year of the pay agreement covering staff on London Underground contracts.

‘This binding agreement was made before anyone could have predicted the pandemic’s effects on our finances or the 30-year high inflationary levels that we are now experiencing.

‘As per the agreement, the amount of the pay increase for 2022/23 will be based on the RPI figure for February, which will be published in March.

‘As with previous years, we would therefore expect to be able to confirm implementation timelines in April.

‘In the meantime we continue to focus on supporting London’s recovery and on making our organization even more efficient.’

An emergency funding deal between the Government and Transport for London was extended earlier this month until midnight on Friday.

Talks have been held to try to reach a long-term funding agreement, with the mayor warning there will be a big impact on transport services in the capital without a deal.

Mr Khan is also reluctant to have TfL contribute to the £80million project to pedestrianize Parliament Square.

The project will include ‘pushing the perimeter of the estate further away from the palace and creating a spine road, the latter providing additional protection from pedestrian attacks’.

Five people were mowed down outside Parliament by a car in a 2017 attack, before the intruder came on to the estate and stabbed policeman Keith Palmer to death.

The Lords Finance Committee was told that the intention was for the ‘overall project costs’ to be shared between Westminster City Council, TfL and Parliament, but the mayor is now thinking to be walking back his pledge to have TfL cover part of the bill.

It comes just days after Mr Khan announced that fares on the London Underground and buses in the capital will rise from March 1.

The Commons and Lords Speakers, local council, Greater London Assembly and other interested parties have now finally agreed a broad blueprint for a project which will pedestrianize Parliament Square.  But Mr Khan is reluctant to have TfL contribute to the £80million project

The Commons and Lords Speakers, local council, Greater London Assembly and other interested parties have now finally agreed a broad blueprint for a project which will pedestrianize Parliament Square. But Mr Khan is reluctant to have TfL contribute to the £80million project

Mr Khan said pay as you go fares will increase by 10p in zone one from £2.40 to £2.50.

Bus fares will increase by 10p to £1.65, while its hopper fares – which allow unlimited travel on bus and tram services within an hour – will continue.

Fares are increasing in total by 4.8 per cent across Transport for London in line with RPI inflation plus 1 per cent.

The rise is the second increase imposed by the mayor and both are in line with Government orders with a view to improving TfL’s finances.

The company has been bailed out by the Government three times following the drop in demand for travel during the pandemic.

The package of Government support for TfL since March 2020 hit more than £4 billion in June last year after the third batch of funding was agreed.

An emergency funding deal between the Government and Transport for London was extended earlier this month until midnight on Friday.  Talks have been held to try to reach a long-term funding agreement, with London's mayor Sadiq Khan (pictured) warning there will be a big impact on transport services in the capital without a deal

An emergency funding deal between the Government and Transport for London was extended earlier this month until midnight on Friday. Talks have been held to try to reach a long-term funding agreement, with London’s mayor Sadiq Khan (pictured) warning there will be a big impact on transport services in the capital without a deal

The mayor announced earlier this week that fares on the London Underground and buses in the capital will rise from March 1. Mr Khan said pay as you go fares will increase by 10p in zone one from £2.40 to £2.50

The mayor announced earlier this week that fares on the London Underground and buses in the capital will rise from March 1. Mr Khan said pay as you go fares will increase by 10p in zone one from £2.40 to £2.50

But Mr Khan said there was still a £1.9 billion funding gap following a TfL Finance Committee report, and warned bus services could be reduced by a fifth and Tube services by almost 10 per cent if a resolution was not reached.

Funding was subsequently extended to February 4 and then to February 18.

Unions feared spending cuts would lead to job losses and reductions in pay, pensions and conditions.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) announced on February 4 that they planned to stage two 24-hour strikes over the issue next month.

Since Mr Khan became mayor in 2016, fares have only increased by 13 per cent in total (including Travelcards and caps), compared with the 42 per cent in the eight years Boris Johnson was mayor, City Hall said.

Mr Khan said: ‘Public transport should be affordable to all, and I’ve taken bold action to ensure this since I became mayor by introducing the unlimited Hopper bus fare and freezing all TfL fares from 2016-2021 – saving the average London household over £200.

A TFL Rail sign at Taplow station in Berkshire is pictured.  Transport For London are set to raise fares on the tube and buses from March 1st

A TFL Rail sign at Taplow station in Berkshire is pictured. Transport For London are set to raise fares on the tube and buses from March 1st

‘Since TfL’s finances were decimated by the pandemic, the Government has set strict conditions as part of the emergency funding deals to keep essential transport services running in London.

‘We have been forced into this position by the Government and the way it continues to refuse to properly fund TfL, but I have done everything in my power to keep fares as affordable as possible.’

Shashi Verma, director of strategy at TfL, said: ‘This fares package aims to keep fares as affordable as possible while still ensuring TfL can continue to run clean, green and safe services and support London’s continued economic recovery.

‘Through daily and weekly capping, as well as the hopper fare and our wide range of concessions, passengers can continue to get the best value fare by using pay as you go with contactless and Oyster.’

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