Stagecoach South West - Duty of Care Relating to COVID-19 Variants in the Workplace

Our Ref: HSR/1/3
Head Office Circular: NP/31/21
4th February 2022
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


Your Exeter No.2 Branch submitted the following resolution:

All employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take all reasonable steps possible to ensure your health, safety and wellbeing. Demonstrating concern for their staffs physical and mental health is their legal duty.

Legally, our employer Stagecoach South West should abide by relevant health & safety and employment law and relevant government legislation regarding COVID measures. They also have a moral and ethical duty not to cause, or fail to prevent, physical or psychological injury, and should be fulfilling their responsibilities with regard to personal injury and negligence claims, which at this present time is not happening and our members concerns not just for themselves but also their families are greater than ever. We have lost someone to COVID in the south west and even one is to many, but we are stuck in this ticking time bomb waiting for the next virus strain and little action to prevent member casualties as actions from group are ignored or misunderstood by people who are protected and unaffected. Risk assessments have been requested by our safety representatives and have not been produced or the requests have been ignored, which is unacceptable.

Last night 22/12/2021 an emergency branch meeting was called and the requirements under your employer's duty of care were discussed and the debate was wide-ranging and the requirements manifest themselves in many different ways, such as:
• Clearly defining regulations.
• Undertaking risk assessments and sharing results
• Highlighting areas of danger.
• Ensuring a safe working environment.
• Not protecting members, because of communication breakdown.
• Providing adequate training and feedback on performance
• Touch point cleaning ask when going be taken up once again.
• lack of ventilation in the bus station canteen and corridors at time bad smells by the toilets.
• Protections in place for our CEV members.
• Protecting customers and the NHS.

Members are working over and above the maximum hours and having increasingly shorter rest and recovery times helping the company deliver their services going above and beyond and need the extra protection and safety actions acted upon.

Company absence and sickness polices are frequently abused, leaving members subject to reduction in pay and late payment of wages after testing positive or adverse reactions to COVID booster jabs.

This mandate covers the employers deemed breach of their duty of care by failing to do everything that was reasonable in the circumstances to keep all members safe from harm.

We as representatives of our members, also have responsibilities for their health and wellbeing at work – for example, they are entitled by law to refuse to undertake work that isn't safe without fear of disciplinary action, it is our intention for you the NEC to accept this mandate resolution with regards to the above lack of communication and actions to protect our members health and safety requirements in regards to COVID, shown by Stagecoach South West towards our members and for the NRC to instruct the General Secretary to write a letter on our behalf to the directors demanding that everything is down to follow procedures for the protection of members in the workplace.

We look to you for guidance and your substantial ability to organise a successful campaign put right the wrong doing we face in our daily tasks, members can stand and face adversity and beat it back in union with the RMT.

Your National Executive Committee, at its meeting on 3rd February 2022, resolved as follows:

The General Secretary is instructed to write to Stagecoach South West:

- To thank them for their correspondence
- To remind them that they have a legal onus to involve RMT safety reps in the risk assessment process - and in any risk assessment reviews
- To remind them to apply the mitigation measures as outlined in the CPT Covid-19 risk matrix for bus and coach drivers.

In relation to company absence and sickness polices being abused (as referred to in the branch resolution), leaving members subject to reduction in pay and late payment of wages after testing positive or after suffering adverse reactions to Covid-19 booster jabs, the GS is asked to request that the Lead Officer take up these issues with the Company and report back to RMT NEC if necessary.

The General Secretary to write to Exeter No2 branch representatives to remind them that they can escalate issues to the National Health and Safety committee if they are unable to resolve issues locally.

Branches and Regional Councils to be advised accordingly.

I am acting in accordance with this instruction and will keep you advised of developments.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary