18 May 2020
RMT Press Office:
As increased rail service timetable comes into place today RMT calls for new compulsory Covid-19 protections for passengers and rail workers.
RAIL UNION RMT is calling for new compulsory protections for passengers and rail workers on trains as the increased rail service timetable comes into place today – Monday 18th May.
The protections are:
• Compulsory 2 metre social distancing – the public are being told to observe 2 metre social distancing in open spaces outdoors. Therefore the government should enforce 2 metre social distancing on trains whose confined spaces mean there is a greater risk of infection.
• Compulsory wearing of face masks by passengers. Masks should also be provided for free at stations and be able to be disposed of safely (It is now a requirement for Eurostar passengers to wear masks but that does not apply to all other railway services that currently operate in the UK).
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,
“We are opposed to the early relaxation of lockdown measures and believe that non-essential workers should avoid using trains. When people absolutely must use a train there should be two new compulsory protections.
“Firstly there should be compulsory 2 metre social distancing on all trains. It is baffling that the government are telling the public to observe 2 metre social distancing in open spaces outdoors but not enforce 2 metre social distancing on trains, whose confined spaces mean there is a greater risk of infection.
“Secondly there should be compulsory wearing of face masks which should be provided for free. It is mystifying that there is a requirement for passengers on Eurostar services in the UK to wear masks but not on other UK rail services. We have the crazy situation of Eurostar passengers arriving with masks on into St Pancras but then not wearing masks when they transfer to the tube or other rail services.”