Report: TfL Diversity and Inclusion online forum, 30 May 2020

TfL’s Diversity and Inclusion team held an online meeting on 20 May. This was not a form Equality, Diversity and Inclusion forum, and included various participants as well as D&I management and trade unions. It used a question-and-answer format.


The questions RMT asked, with answers given:


Is TfL carrying out Equality Impact Assessments for all its actions during the Covid-19 crisis? Will you share them with the trade unions?

Yes, we’ve done some. Yes, we will share with TUs. Please suggest areas you think we should equality-assess.


Please give a gender/race/etc breakdown of numbers of staff who have been furloughed.

This has been done and shared with Company Councils (TfL and LUL). Will be shared with TUs imminently.


Please clarify the situation regarding disabled people's Freedom Passes following the financial deal between the Mayor and the government.

TfL has been asked to consider measures to restrict numbers travelling during the peak.

Management initially stated that this had not been decided yet, but later stated that the disabled people’s Freedom Pass would not be attacked at all. This seems to be a win achieved by pressure.


Will you guarantee that your managers will not unreasonably pressure disabled staff to return to work, especially given ACAS advice is that this would be potentially unlawful?

No answer yet.


The ABM cleaning workforce has a high proportion of women and ethnic minorities. Those who have been furloughed are receiving only the statutory 80% of their wages. Will TfL insist to ABM that it tops up the government funding to give full pay, if necessary funding it to do so?

Management said that they can’t give any details on this question, but it has been raised at company council and Esther Sharp will be responding.


Can you confirm that the TfL workforce (including all workers under the TfL 'umbrella') has the highest Covid-19 death rate of any UK organisation? Please give us a breakdown of the numbers of deaths by age, gender, race and disability.

No answer yet.


Steps Into Work was abruptly stopped when pandemic measures first began, and people are only receiving fortnightly contact from SiW. What are your plans for exercising your duty of care towards people on SiW? Many aspire to employment with TfL/LUL. How will you help them to achieve this?

D&I team is “thinking really really carefully” about the employability programme. The Steps into Work team is in contact with partner organisations as well as students.


Some questions others asked:


Unite the Union asked about root-and-branch review of TfL finances, impact on equalities; asked what TfL would do to defend itself from Tory financial attack. 

Response was concerned but vague, but did pledge to defend equalities.


TSSA: Lots of concerns over job security and emerging division between those working and those on furlough. Real worries about 'return to work' in terms of coming back into the office/travelling - particularly for vulnerable and BAME staff - aware that OHU revisiting this (not yet live)

Some furloughing has been rotated to prevent this sort of division. SNG survey is helping us identify support for vulnerable staff.


Could you provide data for the reasonable adjustment measures requested by staff and if these requests are being met?

There is a process for asking for reasonable adjustments. We are aware of some challenges. There are some issues with technology; glitches with people using their own devices.

More info on reasonable adjustments (and neurodiversity) next week.


Additional points of interest


Some Staff Network Group chairs have been furloughed and not allowed to do SNG work.


TSSA has been running Q&A sessions for the last 9 weeks. The Qs so far (and TSSA answers) are here. WFH a mixed blessing - some love it, others worried


Alarmingly, some people in the meeting voted to deprioritise some RMT questions. RMT raised this in the meeting, and management agreed to ignore the down votes and did ask one of these questions. They also said that they are trying to disable the thumbs-down function. However, it is a matter of concern that there were people at this meeting who tried to veto trade unions asking important questions, and that they were able to do so anonymously.