Sadiq Khan was today accused of being in the “pockets of the unions”, as it emerged that the amount of time Transport for London (TfL) staff are dedicating to trade union duties has rocketed over the past two years.
In 2015/2016 the number of TfL trade union representatives who spent 50 percent or more of their time on union work stood at 48, but this number has now more than doubled to over 100.
This has come at a cost to the taxpayer of over £10 million – up from £4.4 million during the final year of Boris Johnson’s mayoralty.
The new figures also reveal that as of March this year 68 TfL employees spent between 51 and 99 percent of their time on union duties and 37 members of staff were full-time union reps.
The practice of allowing union reps paid time off work to deal with union-related matters is known as “facility time”.
The Coalition Government curbed the activities of union representatives in the civil service, saving £26 million in the process and reducing the number of full-time union employees from 200 to eight. As it comes under the control of the Mayor of London, these reforms didn’t affect TfL.
Commenting, Keith Prince AM said:
“Once again Sadiq Khan has shown that he has completely the wrong priorities. At the same time as the Mayor has cancelled a series of capacity-boosting transport infrastructure upgrades, he has allowed TfL facility time to go through the roof at great expense to the taxpayer. Londoners want better tubes, not more union reps.
“These statistics would be unacceptable if TfL had balanced books, but the transport budget is nearly £1 billion in the red. At time when the finances are in such dire straits, it is shocking that taxpayers’ money is being wasted in this way.
“It now clearer than ever that Sadiq Khan is in the pockets of the unions. He relied on them to become Labour’s candidate for Mayor and now he needs their money to run his next election campaign.
“Our city deserves a Mayor who will focus on Londoners’ interests, not vested interests”.