The Transport for London (TfL) pension review has raised fears that the government could have plans to privatise the London Underground, Unite said today (Tuesday 10 August).
The comments came as Unite launched a campaign to prevent TfL staff having their pensions plundered as a result of the Department of Transport (DfT) ordered pension review.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps made the recent bailout of TfL conditional on its pension fund being reviewed.
Unite raised concerns that the review could be used to slash pension costs, leaving TfL workers struggling in their retirement, while also making the London Underground more attractive to private bidders.
Unite represents more than 2,000 workers directly employed by TfL, as well as 22,000 more across the capital’s public transport network.
Unite regional officer Simon McCartney said, “Our members will not sit back and allow their pensions to be raided because TfL is being starved of funds by ministers.
“Contrary to what the government would have people believe, the TfL pension fund is not gold plated – it is well-managed, properly funded and proportionate.
“The DfT bailout already forced a pay freeze on our members – their pensions must be left alone and Unite will use every means at its disposal to ensure this is the case.
“The underground is the envy of metropolises the world over. Unfortunately, it is not safe under a Tory administration that cares more about the deals done in the city’s financial centre than the people who rely on its public transport network.
“Despite being proved wrong countless times, the Conservative mantra of ‘private good, public bad’ means there is no doubt that ministers hold a long-term ambition of carving up TfL and handing it to their privateer mates.
“What better way to get the ball rolling than hiving off pensions so that TfL’s future running costs are reduced for private sector bidders?” he asked.
By Ryan Fletcher