Around 5,000 people who work as contractors for Transport for London (TfL) are to be offered free travel to bring them in line with TfL’s own staff, the Mayor of London has announced. The contractors will be the typically lower-paid people working in the cleaning, catering and security sectors, and the cost of providing the free travel will be covered by the Greater London Authority (GLA).

These workers weren’t previously able to access this benefit as they are employed by TfL’s suppliers rather than by TfL directly, but the Mayor has asked TfL to extend free travel to these workers in order to support those on the lowest pay.

A GLA spokesperson said that the specific details of how the offer will work will be worked out of the next few months with TfL engaging with the relevant suppliers before implementation by April 2023, with the aim to support TfL contract workers on London Living Wage as soon as possible.

In addition, the Mayor has asked TfL to look into whether sick-pay standards for the lowest paid workers could be improved in future and to conduct work early next year to assess TfL’s ability to bring cleaning services in-house. Earlier this year, TfL renewed its cleaning contract with ABM for a further three years.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m deeply concerned about the fact the spiralling cost of living is hitting those on lower incomes the hardest. That’s why I’m taking unprecedented action to support London’s lowest paid transport workers by removing the cost of using public transport.”

Free travel on TfL services is already given to staff employed directly by TfL, and Oyster cards are also issued to bus drivers and operators of other TfL services as part of their benefits package. Staff directly employed by TfL are also able to nominate a second person — typically a partner or someone they live with — to receive a free travel pass.

Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary said: “We warmly welcome this news, which is a victory for our campaigning and a big step forward in our campaign to win justice for London’s tube cleaners.”

The decision to offer free travel to the cleaners, and investigate sick-pay standards meets three of the five demands that the RMT issued in August to avoid a strike ballot being called. There’s still an issue of staffing numbers, pension, and a minimum wage to be settled.

This article was published on ianVisits


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