Transport for London staff are set to be furloughed as a "temporary and essential" measure after passenger numbers have dropped by 95% on the Underground and 85% on London buses.

A leaked email seen by the Daily Mirror states that London transport workers will be put on the government retention scheme but will remain on 100% pay.

The TSSA union has applauded TfL for its "responsible approach" of topping up salaries of furloughed staff, but has called for the Government to do more.

With passenger numbers at record lows, TfL are reportedly taking "a massive financial hit with loss of revenue and footfall" and daily cash flow has "been hit extremely hard."

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In the leaked message from TfL commission Mike Brown, he states that the coronavirus lockdown measures have come "at a huge financial cost to us in reduced fare and other revenue."

"Given these circumstances, we must now use the Government’s Job Retention Scheme (often referred to as ‘furlough’) which is designed to support organisations like us that have been affected financially by coronavirus."

It is expected staff in a range of roles will be furloughed from April 27 until at least May 31, and whilst it it is not clear how many this will include, staff in non-safety critical roles or on projects where work has been ceased or reduced are likely to be hit.

It is understood that line managers will be having discussions with colleagues where this is the case from the beginning of next week, including in areas where work has been reduced or paused.

Latest figures also state that at least 26 TfL workers have died after testing positive Covid-19, and a number of safety measures have been in place to protect drivers and passengers.

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The email added that these are "anxious times" and tells staff the organisation "must get through this difficult time and this is part of how you can help us do that."