Report: TfL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Forum, 31 October 2019

RMT, Unite, PCS and TSSA were represented at the meeting. ASLEF did not attend.


Terms of reference

At the last meeting, we raised several issues regarding how this forum works, in particular:

  1. We proposed that it be renamed the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion forum (rather than just D&I). Management agreed.
  2. We asked for preliminary and feedback days for union reps to meet and discuss our input. The unions insisted that we were not there simply to listen to management, and that as management hold a prelim meeting, then the unions are entitled to have the equivalent. Management had not allowed this for this meeting, but will now consider options for us to have prelims in future. We held a preliminary meeting with two of the Unite reps for an hour before the meeting. It would have been better to have all union reps there, but management’s prevarication over whether we could have a prelim day left us calling the meeting at very short notice. Nevertheless, the prelim was useful. 
  3. We proposed that the forum set up working groups where appropriate to ensure that unions are involved in work on specific equality/diversity/inclusion subjects. This will be considered when the need arises.


Safety moment

In the ‘safety moment’, we discussed the shockingly high turnover of young, black and ethnic minority women staff in Surface Transport. One factor in this is the unsafe working conditions, with verbal and physical abuse, and poor access to facilities for people working on the streets at all times of the day and night. Unite believes that there is a culture of bullying and harassment in the CPOS department, and that managers who bully are moved sideways or even promoted. 

Unite also shares RMT’s concern about their Surface Transport members being used to patrol Tube stations. This undermines Tube staff’s jobs and leaves the Surface Transport staff vulnerable. One was told off after attending a stabbing incident without a radio, even though they are not issued with radios!

Unite is in dispute with TfL in some areas of Surface Transport, and received their successful ballot result during the meeting!

Following our raising the issue of sexual harassment on Night Tube at the last meeting, we asked why TfL had not involved the unions in the planned women’s charter as we had asked. Management replied that they would give us updates when they were available. We stressed that we want involvement not just updates.

The Safety Moment also discussed recent fatal incidents at Waterloo, the need for safety information in different languages, and the negative portrayal of black and ethnic minority people on the TV programme ‘Fare Dodgers’.


Employment Issues

The unions pressed the issue that we had raised previously, concerning inadequate opportunities for career progression, impacting especially on groups already at a disadvantage. RMT drew attention to the lack of opportunities for workers who become disabled during their employment.

We also reiterated our call for people on the Steps Into Work scheme to receive payment. Management committed to considering this in a review that will take place early next year. 

The unions raised concerns that where staff are having to apply for new posts under Transformation, neurodivergent and BAME staff are losing out.


Reasonable Adjustments
We had a presentation from management about a ‘roadmap’ for reasonable adjustments for disabled members. It is good to them them planning action on this, although it is set out in hard-to-understand management-speak. RMT stressed:

  • That adjustments for individuals are ‘Plan B’ - Plan A is an accessible workplace. We need across-the-job improvements to accessibility, rather than just tweaks for individuals. For example, steps edges should be painted in all station machine rooms, not just in those where an individual worker has an agreed adjustment that they must be.
  • That individual adjustments are still important, and staff need to be able to keep their agreed adjustments when they change job, location and manager. We asked for management to agree our proposal for Reasonable Adjustment Passports.
  • That adjustments also need to made to policies (such as the Attendance policy) as well as physical features. We want ‘Disability Leave’, so that staff absent from work because of disability are not penalised.

Management gave a positive response to these points, and proposed setting up a working group with the unions to develop this project.


Recruitment Adverts

RMT raised the issue of the wording of recruitment adverts, in particular arguing that advertising for people with an ‘outgoing personality’ to apply for CSA places an unjustified and discriminatory ‘personality filter’ on the application. Management agreed to our proposal to withdraw this wording and to review recruitment advertising more widely. Management are holding a half-day workshop on this in December.


Union Representation and Training

Replying to our request for release for equalities training for union reps, management advised us that a meeting is scheduled for 3 December to discuss frameworks, machinery of negotiation, equalities and training in TfL and LUL