Coronavirus Outbreak at Northern Trains Ltd - Leeds Travel Centre

Our Ref: HSR/1/3

Head Office Circular: NP/248/20
8th October 2020
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


Leeds City Branch submitted a resolution following reports from local health and safety representatives that they had grave concerns over the health, safety and welfare of RMT members working for Northern Trains Ltd within the Travel Centre Complex at Leeds City station.

Staff had reported that they understood a total of nine colleagues had now tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen within the last week, with other staff currently awaiting test results. Management has however not thus far shared these statistics with the constituent health and safety representative, and has failed to promptly and adequately consult with the constituent health and safety representative on its response to these matters.

RMT is mindful of the need to protect job security in these unprecedented times and therefore does not seek the closure of the premises, but purely make it safe as possible for our members to work within.

Members are fearful to attend work, with many stating they would rather eat their lunch outside in the cold than risk entering the mess room. Similarly, they feel safer using the station's public toilets than the Travel Centre facilities. RMT therefore questions whether the employer values its pursuit of revenue over the preservation of the lives of its employees.

In light of the apparent failures and neglect of Northern Trains Ltd in this matter the resolution was placed before your National Executive Committee (NEC).

On 6th October 2020 your NEC noted and adopted the following report from its Health and Safety Sub-committee:

We note the resolution from Leeds City Branch. In line with this resolution, the General Secretary is instructed to raise this matter as matter of urgency directly with the Safety Director of Northern Trains with a view to seeking the following:

• The introduction of a single reporting line of management for the purposes of health, safety and welfare within the entire Leeds travel centre building complex who will consult and liaise with the constituent travel centre health and safety representative under the provisions of the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 and the Health and Safety at work Act 1974.

• To ensure that should any further positive test results come to light of any person whatsoever who has entered the premises, the entire complex without exception will immediately close until the completion of a deep cleanse of every single part of the premises, this to include all offices, toilets, kitchens, corridors and stair wells.

• To ensure that should any further "COVID bomb" devices be utilised as part of deep-cleans, that sufficient time is allowed for dispersal of the chemical agents employed, taking particular account of the lack of sources of fresh external air within the premises.

• The introduction of HEPA particulate filtered air purifiers in every enclosed space within the complex, including all offices, mess rooms, kitchens, toilets, corridors and stair wells.

• The use of a single point of ingress for every single person who enters the premises, be they traincrew managers, travel centre staff or visitors. Temperature checks to be conducted upon every single entry to the building, with any person displaying a high temperature to be required to immediately leave the premises and self-isolate for the requisite period of time as quantified within CoVid-19 Government guidelines.

• The introduction of a system of regular in-house Coronavirus testing for all staff, this to be facilitated utilising existing occupational health providers.

The General Secretary is further instructed to:

• Raise this matter with the safety directorate of Network Rail as the owners of the premises.
• Formally raise our concerns with the Safety Directorate of the Office of Rail and Road.
• Raise the matter with our Parliamentary Group.
• Obtain a legal opinion on these matters.
• Request that the company encourage all employees to install the NHS Track and Trace App on their mobile telephones
• Request that the company install NHS QR codes in their buildings

Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.

NTL members to be informed by email and text.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you informed of developments. Please make the contents of this Circular available to all appropriate members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary