Report: TfL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Forum, 9 June

TfL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Trade Union Engagement Forum, 9 June 2021

Report from Janine Booth (RMT)


After a long break, the Forum met on Teams on 9 June 2021. Janine Booth and Glen Hart attended on behalf of RMT. ASLEF, TSSA and Unite were also present, but other TfL unions were not. This forum is separate from the collective bargaining machinery, but more sharing of information between them would be helpful.

RMT had submitted a long list of issues in advance, many of which were issues that we had raised before but had not been acted on.


What is the Forum for?

The change in personnel on the management side, and disruption during the pandemic, provided an opportunity to discuss how the Forum runs. RMT raised various issues, several of which we had raised previously: meetings are not long enough to deal with issues; sub-groups on specific issues; reps’ release to prepare for, take part in and feed back from meetings. RMT called on the company to recognise Equality representatives, and all unions present spoke strongly in favour of this. Management agreed to:

  • seek information from Network Rail about its recognition of Equality reps
  • consider the issues of Equality reps and release
  • convene a specific meeting on the EDI Forum terms of reference within six weeks.


Management introduced their Anti-Racism Leadership Charter. While there is nothing objectionable about the Charter, we believe that it does not address fundamental issues of racism within the company.

RMT outlined our view that contracting-out is institutionally racism, as in practice, BAME workers are over-represented in low-paid contractor jobs, and that contracting-out disguising the ethnicity pay gap. Management responded by promising to get their contractors to support the Charter, which did not address the point we had made. We proposed further discussion on this, perhaps through a working group. Management promised to respond to this.

RMT raised concerns about how complaints of racism are dealt with, as several recent cases have shown poor treatment of the victim. Management agreed to consider this.

We asked for a survey of all staff (including contractor staff) on their experiences and relationship with the police, including a breakdown of replies by race and gender. Management will respond.


Discriminatory recruitment issues

RMT had previously obtained an agreement from management to stop using ‘outgoing personality’ and similar terms in recruitment adverts, as they impose an unacceptable personality filter than excludes some neurodivergent, introverted and other people. We expressed our anger that a CSA2 advert had been published using exactly this language. It transpired that management had not actually told Recruitment of the agreement it had made with us! The words ‘outgoing personality’ have now been withdrawn, but adverts still use wording based on personality traits rather than ability to do the job.

The unions raised further equality-related aspects of recruitment, including:

  • psychometric and situational judgement testing
  • the benefits of practical tests
  • anonymised CV process and other aspects of the recruitment process
  • the six-month bar on reapplication

TSSA proposed the inclusion of trade union reps on recruitment panels. I propose that RMT discusses whether we agree with this before it is discussed further with management.

There will be a special EDI Forum meeting on the subject of recruitment, with Recruitment senior managers attending.


Part-time workers

RMT put the case for opportunities to work part-time in every area of the company, as many members of groups such as carers, women and disabled people prefer to (or can only) work part-time. This does not happen at present, as illustrated by a recent secondment scheme which was only open for full-time working. Management agreed to respond.


Harassment, bullying, safety at work

We discussed equality-related harassment and violence against operational staff. The unions asked for:

  • an update on the Mayor’s Women’s Charter and repeated our objection to the unions being excluded from this
  • a clear statement that staff could leave their place of duty (eg. gateline, train) in order to report incidents.
  • a breakdown of information on harassment and bullying incidents across the network in order to identify ‘hot spots’
  • a response to our concerns about how the company deals with staff with PTSD

Management agreed to respond.

Equality Impact Assessments

Management have been drafting documents on Workplace Equality Impact Assessments. We insisted that the unions be consulted on their content before they are published, which management agreed to. Since the meeting, I have sent feedback on behalf of RMT on the company’s draft documents, raising various issues, correcting inaccuracies and calling for more trade union involvement in the EqIA process.


Other issues

We raised (again) the following issues which were not discussed in detail but which management agree to respond to:

  • Disability leave (workers not disciplined for sick leave that arises from disability)
  • Steps into Work students to be paid
  • Ban on union materials on Yammer
  • Reasonable adjustment passports
  • Increase in long-term respiratory impairments among staff due to Long Covid, and the need for action on air quality in workplaces
  • Organisational change policies and the negative impact on equality and inclusion
  • Support for staff who are EU nationals applying for settled status.

Management will respond to all these issues.