2016 Achievements (Supplementary) [7]

Session date: 
September 10, 2014
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

Question

I want to just go on to ask a question about TfL’s equalities impact assessment to the Commissioner.  If he is not able to give me the answer today, then I would welcome it in writing.  When I was looking through the programme to reduce London Underground’s running costs by some £50 million per annum, and when I looked at the equalities impact assessment, it said that there would be no negative equality impact on the following key target groups: women; black and ethnic minorities; lesbian, gay men, bisexual and transgender people; young people; children; and faith group members.  However, it does accept that there will be a negative equality impact on disabled people and older users and those 55 years plus in the workforce.  Then, when you go on, given that it has recognised this in the workforce, I am shocked to then see that it says that there will be no negative impact on passengers with disabilities and those in the over-55 age group.  This is the same population inhabiting the same space.  How can there be a negative impact on the staff who are with us on underground stations and moving about the stations and not on the customers?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for 2016 Achievements (Supplementary) [7]

Answer for 2016 Achievements (Supplementary) [7]

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

Sir Peter Hendy CBE (Commissioner, TfL):  Jennette, that is relatively simple to answer.  The substantive number of jobs that are proposed to be reduced, despite all the discussion about ticket office windows, are actually supervisory jobs where people are sitting in offices.  There will be some negative impact on jobs where people are able to sit but not stand for a number of hours, whereas actually the proposal is to have the same or an increased number, generally, of people in station foyers and in the entrances to stations and on the platforms, where they will necessarily need to stand for longer periods.  That is an impact which impacts on the staff because there will not be so many supervisory jobs sitting at desks in offices.

However, it does not impact on the passengers, in fact.  We think it will make the passenger service better because there will be more people on many stations able to help people with disabilities in and out of the station.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  That does not come over in your document.  Also, you talked about thinking.  I would much prefer you to be saying that in consultation with advocates and organisations that are happy to work alongside you, you have done some modelling, you have looked at an assessment framework and you can actually state what number of staffing levels will be increased so that people with disabilities and over-50s using the transport system will not be negatively impacted.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE (Commissioner, TfL):  As you would expect, we discuss, firstly, matters concerning our staff with the staff and their representatives and that is the right thing to do.  Some of the apparent reluctance to discuss the details of these proposals is because it is not right or feasible to discuss things in the public domain whilst we are discussing them with the representatives.  The proposition, however you frame it at a broad level, that more people on and about the stations might have a negative benefit on people with disabilities is pretty ludicrous, frankly.  The one set of people in stations who are not able much to help people with disabilities are people sitting in offices.  Primarily, the job reductions are in supervisory jobs and what were in the old days - because I am old enough to remember it - clerical jobs in ticket offices where people are not actually in contact with the customers.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  Can I have your assurance, then, that you are going to take this proposition out to those organisations and out to users before you come back and say that this is something that will benefit them if you have not tested it?

Sir Peter Hendy CBE (Commissioner, TfL):  You have had Mike Brown [Managing Director, London Underground and London Rail, TfL] if not here then at a similar meeting talking about discussing this with passengers, but I repeat that we are primarily going to continue at this stage to discuss matters that affect our staff with the staff themselves and their representatives.  All the consultation and fuss surrounding it has been a prolonged attempt, which has now been largely successful, at getting engagement at a station-by-station level.  We are then able to establish the right number of people at stations and are able also to tell our staff, who deserve to have that assurance what the jobs will be, how many of them there will be and where they might work.

That is not to say that the customer impacts of that are being ignored.  It is just to say that you cannot have those discussions in parallel.  You have to do one set before the other set.  You will know, however, that there is a commitment to have some discussion about the impact of all that on passengers because they are important and we are thinking of that as well.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  OK.  You might be doing your job.  I can only look to the Mayor to do his and to be mindful of the needs of disabled Londoners and that any reduction in staff ‑‑

Sir Peter Hendy CBE (Commissioner, TfL):  Yes, absolutely.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  ‑‑ will have an impact.  If it is not the Commissioner’s job, it is certainly the Mayor’s job to be mindful of that.

Boris Johnson (Chairman, TfL):  That is understood, Jennette.  Obviously we do think about that.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  Thank you.

Boris Johnson (Chairman, TfL):  I accept fully the arguments that Peter [Hendy] has made about the advantage of releasing staff from behind plate glass and getting them out into a position where they can help disabled passengers.