By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has branded a black tie dinner to celebrate the closure of Underground ticket offices and the loss of 800 jobs, as “disgusting and obscene.”
The RMT alleged that nearly 50 Tfl chiefs went to the plush event at a swanky Mayfair club to celebrate shutting Tube ticket offices. The choice of venue in one the most exclusive postcodes in the UK, if not the world, may seem too ostentatious for many. Before they lost their jobs, the chance of affording a meal in these types of establishments would be unlikely, even less now after the cost cutting exercise.
Many will see the decision as crass and although they had achieved their aims, many people have lost their jobs because of it. The idea of bosses swilling expensive drinks and toasting to their success, while ex-staff are seeking new employment may leave a bitter taste.
The union said a “gloating” bulletin circulated to staff said: “Almost 50 people from the FftFS (Fit for the Future Stations) team spent an enjoyable evening in the luxurious setting of the RAF Club in Piccadilly as they celebrated the successful completion of the main ticket office closure programme.
“All 289 ticket offices were closed, within budget, in an immense team effort throughout 2015.”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash in the Independent said: “It is, frankly, obscene that nearly 50 senior TfL managers treated themselves to a slap-up beano at the luxury RAF Club in the heart of the West End to celebrate the axing of 800 safety-critical jobs and the smashing up of London’s Tube ticket offices.
“While TfL is talking about further cuts of over £2 billion that would devastate safety and services, it is a massive kick in the teeth for staff to receive bulletins from the management gloating about their axe-swinging antics.
“RMT members are furious that while they are being stretched to breaking point, the top brass are out on a jolly in a luxury, private members’ club in Mayfair.”
A TfL spokesman said: “No public money was spent on the dinner organised by some of our construction workers to mark the completion of their building work. The dinner was held in their own time and entirely at their own expense.”