RMT calls for National Bus Coronavirus Safety Summit

RMT calls for National Bus Coronavirus Safety Summit

7 May 2020

RMT Press Office:

As Prime Minister considers easing lockdown RMT calls for National Bus Coronavirus Safety Summit to oversee a national plan to protect bus drivers and passengers as new survey reveals alarming COVID – 19 safety failings.

As Prime Minister considers easing lockdown RMT calls for National Bus Coronavirus Safety Summit to oversee a national plan to protect bus drivers and passengers as new survey reveals alarming COVID – 19 safety failings

As the Prime Minister considers easing the lockdown bus worker union RMT has called for a National Bus Coronavirus Safety Summit to oversee a national plan to protect bus drivers and passengers as a new survey reveals alarming COVID – 19 safety failings.

The survey of bus workers primarily outside London found,

• 4 out of 10 bus workers thought their employers actions to protect them from the virus was poor or terrible
• Almost half think their employer has put profit before safety, with a quarter not believing this was he case.
• One in five bus workers had not been issued any PPE by their employer
• Only half had a screen fitted in their cab by their employer
• Less than 5% had been issued face masks
• Only a quarter of bus workers have access to washing facilities at work
• Only 16% said their employer had transitioned to cashless transactions

RMT bus workers described an industry in which they are frightened of catching and spreading COVID-19, and where many employers have failed to implement sufficient safety measures such as PPE and cashless transactions. Comments included:

“More interested in you wear a tie than provide PPE”

“Seriously negligent. They taped some of the front seats on the buses near the driver but about half the fleet remain untaped and people sit right behind me, no plastic screens.”

“I handle money, the front door is open, don't have protection between us and customers”

“It was weeks before our vehicles were disinfected, we are still told we don’t need PPE”

Despite these concerns and the private bus industry receiving hundreds of millions in tax payer support there has been no joined up discussions involving all the unions, the bus companies and government. RMT is therefore calling for an urgent summit that would agree a binding national plan on all bus operators to implement the best possible protections for bus workers and passengers.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“As the Prime Minister talks of easing the lockdown our survey shows that bus workers and passengers do not have sufficient protections because bus bosses continue to fail to put sufficient protections in place.

“Bus workers and passengers are at risk because the government has refused to take on vested interests in the bus industry and bring all sides together to agree the strongest possible protections for workers and passengers.

“As passenger numbers increase we need a national Bus Coronavirus Safety Summit to agree a national plan to implement rigorous safety measures to protect bus workers and passengers, including adequate PPE, enforcing social distancing and using cashless travel.”


Ends.

Notes for editors

RMT Survey
Between 15/04/20 and 24/04/20, 500 responses were received from RMT bus worker members.

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Tagged with: Covid-19, national bus coronavirus safety summit, PPE, bus