11th May 2020
Our Ref: HSR/1/3
Circular No. NP/106/20
ALL REGIONAL COUNCILS
CORONAVIRUS – COVID-19 BUS SERVICE RISKS
Following on from the Prime Ministers ambiguous statement yesterday, 10th May 2020, it may be possible that there is an uncontrollable increase in bus passenger numbers. There has still been no industry wide discussions with RMT about any measures to prevent Covid-19 from spreading amongst the population and in particular how to maintain social distancing if passenger numbers increase.
Therefore RMT’s advice to bus worker members must be that if two metre social distancing cannot be maintained we consider it to be unsafe and members have the legal right to use the worksafe process.
RMT will fully back any member who uses this process to ensure their safety.
You should therefore ensure the following in respect of how you conduct your work:
a) Ensure any arrangements are based on bus usage being limited to essential travel only.
b) Social distancing must remain in place at 2m. If there are essential tasks that must be carried out where 2m is not possible then agreed mitigation must be in place.
c) PPE- Surgical masks / visors are not protection from infection and are not mitigation for any failure to implement 2m social distancing.
d) Social distancing must be possible in staff areas after any increase in services
I will also advise members of any specific local/company level problems that emerge so that further advice can be given as necessary.
The legal right to use the work safe/refusal to work process stems from the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Employment Rights Act 1996 which state that employees are protected by law if they decide that their work situation represents a threat of “serious or imminent danger” and as a result of this belief they remove themselves to a place of safety.
Please also see previous advice for bus workers.
Your union will continue fight to put your safety first and will support all members.”
I will keep you updated and write to you again with regard to any further developments