Bus Fires - Resolution from South West of England Regional Council

Our ref: HSR/2/7
Head Office Circular: NP/6/21
6th January 2021
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


The following resolution was carried by South West of England Regional Council:

On behalf of Bus Worker members this Regional Council urgently requests that the NEC address the issue of spontaneous bus fires.

Our Regional Organiser initially identified this as a local problem affecting older vehicles. We thought we had a particular problem reflecting that historically old buses moved to the South West by local purchases. His research has identified that buses of all ages are potentially dangerous due to their manufacture, in particular use of composite plastic and aluminium. Further, research finds this is a widespread national and international issue.

Whereas this significant risk should be recognised by Operating Companies acting on that risk, in particular by educating and training drivers and maintenance staff to support considered and effective policies and procedures.

Barry West describes the reaction so far from Operational Company’s attempts to deny and suppress rather than agree and act on these fires. That we are literally ‘sleepwalking’ into a disaster with injuries and potential for loss of life, next time you step on a bus please look at all that plastic with Grenfell in mind.

Whereas the issue places our members and the travelling public in clear and immediate danger this resolution further asks the NEC seek support from relevant sister Unions and Regulators, in particular the FBU.

Your NEC subsequently noted and adopted the following report of its Health and Safety Sub Committee:

We note the resolution from the South West of England Regional Council. The General Secretary is instructed to seek a report from the Regional Organiser and subsequently write to all operating companies in regards to the risks associated with the use of composite plastic and aluminium in bus construction. It is critically important that our members are educated and trained in dealing with fires onboard buses and are supported by effective policies and procedures. The General Secretary is further instructed to seek an article from the Regional Organiser to be placed in a future edition of “RMT News” and be shared with other relevant trade unions. Further General Secretary is instructed to merge this file with the main file – ‘Bus and Coach Fires’ (HSR/2/7)

Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.

Relevant members to be advised via email and text.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions.

Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary