One in 10 staff threatened with a pay cut unless they return to office

Paying the price for WFH: One in 10 staff have been threatened with a pay cut unless they return to office – as traffic on roads continues to creep up but Tube riders remains HALF pre-pandemic levels

  • 11% of people say talks have taken place about possibility of pay cuts if they continue to work from home
  • Two-thirds would consider leaving their job if their employer suggested this to them, CV-Library study finds 
  • Morning rush hour congestion in London rose again today to become significantly higher than pre-pandemic 
  • Congestion at 79% at 8am today – above 67% in 2019, and up on 76% at 8am yesterday and 61% on Monday
  • London Underground usage is still at only half pre-pandemic levels this week as people continue to WFH

More than one in ten Britons say their employer has already threatened pay cuts if they continue to work from home, a survey found today as London’s morning rush hour became busier for the third day in a row.

Some 11 per cent of people said discussions had taken place within their business about the possibility of pay cuts – while two-thirds claimed they would consider leaving their job if their employer suggested this to them.

The study by CV-Library came as data from location technology firm TomTom showed morning rush hour congestion on London’s roads rose again today to become significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Congestion hit 79 per cent at 8am – well above the 67 per cent on the same day and time in 2019, and 51 per cent in 2020. The figure was also up on yesterday’s 8am level of 76 per cent and Monday’s 8am figure of 61 per cent. 

Meanwhile photographs showed hordes of commuters walking through Clapham Junction on their way to work this morning, with Britain’s busiest interchange station looking back to normal in passenger number levels.

But London Underground usage is still at only half pre-pandemic levels this week as people continue to work from home – despite commuters returning to the network which is now at its busiest in 18 months. 

Commuters stand on a platform at Clapham Junction train station in South West London during the morning rush hour today

Rail passengers walk along the bridge over the platforms at Clapham Junction station today during the morning rush hour

Commuters wait for a train on a platform at Clapham Junction train station this morning as they make their way into the office


Then and now: Passengers use escalators at London Bridge Underground station on March 24, 2020 (left) and today (right)


Before and after: An empty Westminster Bridge in London on March 24, 2020 (left) and during this morning’s rush hour (right)

Commuters wait to board a South Western Railway service this morning on a platform at Clapham Junction train station 

Commuters walk through Clapham Junction train station during the morning rush hour in South West London today

Data showed morning rush hour congestion in London rose again today to become much higher than pre-pandemic levels

Transport for London data shows bus and Tube usage has been rising but is still well below pre-pandemic levels in early 2020

The survey from CV-Library revealed three-quarters (74 per cent) of professionals think it is unfair for an employer to suggest a pay cut if a member of staff spends time working remotely or from home.

And 69 per cent reported that they would consider leaving their job if their boss made the suggestion to them.

End of the line for ‘mind the gap’? Tube looks to use platform fillers 

It has long been a familiar message to commuters and tourists visiting London.  But the Tube’s famous ‘mind the gap’ warning may become unnecessary – as bosses look to install ‘gap fillers’ at stations across the capital.

The plan, which emerged in a report published yesterday, comes more than a year after a man was crushed to death when he fell between the train and the platform at Waterloo.

The report revealed that Tube bosses believe gap fillers could be ‘worthwhile’ and options for installing them were being explored. The ‘moveable’ fillers would extend out from the platform once trains have arrived to cover the gap. They would then retract again before trains leave.

No existing gap fillers were ‘considered appropriate’, the paper added, but ‘alternative’ solutions were being looked into. In 2015, another person was killed after falling into a Tube gap at Waterloo.

However, 19 per cent agreed that it was a fair suggestion, but only if an employee now worked on a remote basis, or from home, full time. Some 7 per cent agreed, regardless of the remote split.

Of those prepared to stay in their roles, 43 per cent said they would accept a 5 per cent pay cut, 21 per cent said they would take a 10 per cent pay drop and 6 per cent would even agree to a 20 per cent reduction.

Some 27 per cent reported that they would stay but would not agree to any pay cut. Of the almost 1,500 respondents, some 11 per cent said the topic of a pay cut had already been mentioned.

The study also found 82.2 per cent said that had worked remotely at some point since the pandemic began.

Lee Biggins, founder of CV-Library, said: ‘Contractual obligations, weighting allowances and individual circumstances will be unique to each business.

‘What is apparent is that flexible working is here to stay and we’re in a candidate led market with job postings at a record high.’

Meanwhile, data from Zoopla has suggested the fall in London’s residential rent market appears to have bottomed out – with the figures suggesting rental growth will return to positive territory by early 2022.

The average London rent was down to -9.4 per cent year-on-year in January, but this is now at -3.8 per cent.

Kate Eales, from estate agents Strutt and Parker, told City AM: ‘Now that restrictions on travel are easing, short term stock will come out of the rental market and students will likely return, which in turn could see an increase in growth.’

Zoopla added that rents outside London are increasing at their fastest pace in more than a decade as tenants swing back into city life.

The increase means renters face paying nearly £500 more per year than they did a year ago. 

Commuters stand on a platform at Clapham Junction station during the morning rush hour in South West London today

Commuters stand on a platform at Clapham Junction station today as people make their way to work in the capital

Rail passengers wait for a train today on a platform at Clapham Junction, which is Britain’s busiest interchange station

Commuters wait for a train at Clapham Junction train station this morning as they make their way to work

Commuters walk along the bridge linking platforms at Clapham Junction station on their way to work in London this morning

Commuters stand on a platform at Clapham Junction station today during the morning rush hour in the capital

Commuters walk along the bridge above the platforms at Clapham Junction train station in South West London today

Commuters stand on a platform at Clapham Junction station today as people continue to head back into the office

Commuters walk through Clapham Junction train station during the morning rush hour today in South West London

Rental prices across the UK, excluding London, are up by 5 per cent year on year, driven by soaring demand in major cities amid limited supply, the report said.

Nadhim Zahawi reveals only a quarter of his team work in office at any time

A minister has said he wants to ‘lead by example’ in encouraging civil servants back to the workplace after he revealed that only a quarter of his team work in the office at any one time.

Nadhim Zahawi said that, while all of his staff were back to working in Whitehall, they operate on a rota system so that just one in four are at their desks each day, with the rest carrying out their jobs from home.

It comes after a spokesman for Boris Johnson said the Prime Minister wanted to see a ‘gradual return of people to the workplaces’ in the Civil Service, outlining the ‘significant benefits’ of office-based working. 

Asked about how many of his own team had returned to office working, vaccines minister Mr Zahawi told LBC radio: ‘People are coming back and my staff now, as of this month for example, have got something like 25 per cent permanently back in the office on a rota system – so all of them are back effectively.’

But he conceded that his Department of Health and Social Care office space could ‘certainly’ accommodate more in-person working.

The 5 per cent increase is the biggest since Zoopla’s index started in 2008.

Average rents for the UK, excluding London, were put at £790 per month, up from £752 a year ago. This adds up to renters paying an average of £456 more per year.

Grainne Gilmore , head of research at Zoopla, said: ‘The strong levels of rental demand seen across the UK during August will moderate in line with seasonal trends, but overall demand for rental property is likely to remain higher than usual in the coming months, amid this swing back to city life.

‘As ever, much will be dependent on the extent to which the current rules around Covid continue as they are.

‘But given no deviation from the current landscape, the demand for rental property, coupled with lower levels of supply, will continue to put upward pressure on rents. In London, this will translate into rental growth returning to positive territory late 2021 or early 2022.’ 

The Tube had its busiest morning rush hour since March 2020 for the second day in a row yesterday, with Oyster and contactless ‘taps’ between 7am and 8am being up 33 per cent on last week and up 8 per cent on Monday.

For 8am to 9am yesterday, they were up 41 per cent on last week and 15 per cent on Monday. 

However, usage still remains at only half pre-pandemic demand – being at 53 per cent from 7am to 8am, and 44 per cent from 8am to 9am.

Meanwhile Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi revealed yesterday that only a quarter of his team work in the office at any one time and said he wanted to ‘lead by example’ in encouraging civil servants back to the workplace.

Apple mobility data – which monitors directions requested on its Maps app – showed that over the past month, people have been using public transport, driving or walking more than before the pandemic began in early 2020.

Requests for walking directions in London are now up by as much as 70 per cent compared to January 2020, while public transport usage has risen by as much as 60 per cent compared to then – and driving is up by 40 per cent.

Passengers on board a Jubilee line Underground train at London Bridge station during the morning rush hour today

Passengers on board the 8.30am train service from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington this morning

Commuters at Birmingham New Street station this morning as people head back into the office after the summer holidays

Passengers board the 8.30am Great Western Railway train from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington this morning

Rail passengers wait for a train on the platform at Bristol Temple Meads train station during the morning rush hour today

The platform at Bath Spa train station this morning during rush hour as people board a Great Western Railway service

Commuters walk through the Deansgate area of Manchester this morning during the rush hour period today

The Apple data is more likely to show figures for leisure trips, given that people will generally not request directions to and from the office given that this is a journey they regularly carry out.

It comes as one government source told MailOnline they had been shocked to find civil servants reinstating social distancing measures in their department.

The source said: ‘There were officials putting social distancing restrictions back in place. We said, ”what are you doing? We are trying to get more people in, not close off desks.’. We can’t get them to do one day a week, let alone three.’

Earlier this week a spokesman for Boris Johnson said the Prime Minister wanted to see a ‘gradual return of people to the workplaces’ in the Civil Service, outlining the ‘significant benefits’ of office-based working.

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