RMT issues fresh COVID-19 advice to members

RMT issues fresh COVID-19 advice to members

10 May 2020

RMT Press Office:

RMT issues fresh advice to members not to work in unsafe COVID-19 conditions as union warns that confused Government messaging today could have lethal consequences.

TRANSPORT UNION RMT today issued fresh guidance to members across rail and tube to refuse to work where safety is compromised due to the potentially lethal consequences of the Governments confused and contradictory messaging over the COVID-19 lockdown.

The union warning has come as it has become clear that the Government is shifting away from the stay at home message, unleashing a surge in passengers on rail and tube from tomorrow, breaching social distancing measures with potentially lethal consequences for both staff and th‎e public.

In a circular to members issued today the union says;

Your NEC today considered this matter and stated our total opposition to attempts by the rail industry and government to impose changes in working practices from Monday 11th May. We had only previously agreed to take part in a process to discuss such changeswhich had been intended to commence and be implemented from Monday 18th May.

Given the confusion and mixed messaging generated by the government in recent days, RMT has no confidence in the ability of the government to manage lockdown or its easing.

To be clear no agreement has been made to change any working practices or social distancing arrangements from tomorrow.

Therefore if two metre social distancing cannot be maintained we consider it to be unsafe and members have the legal right to use the worksafe process. On LUL they have the legal right to use the refusal to work policy.

RMT will fully back any member who uses this process to ensure their safety.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;

"This trade union will not sit back while confused and conflicting messaging from the government raises the prospect of a surge in passengers on our transport services, making a mockery of the social distancing rules with potentially lethal consequences.

"We are reissuing and reinforcing advice to our members not to work in conditions where their health and safety is clearly compromised. No employer should be sending their staff out to work in those kind of conditions and we are putting the industry on the clearest possible notice.

"We've seen the spin in advance of the Prime Ministers speech tonight. We are taking clear and decisive action now to protect our members tomorrow."

Ends

Note to editors;

Full RMT members COVID-19 circular issued today:


10th May 2020

To: All RMT Rail and London Underground members.


Dear Colleague

COVID - 19 URGENT RMT SAFETY ADVICE REGARDING RAIL AND TUBE SERVICESFROM 11th MAY

Over the weekend I have been contacted by Network Rail who say they are planning for a possible surge in passenger usage on the national railway system on Monday 11th May as a side-effect of the Prime Minister's statement scheduled for 19:00 hours, 10th May in respect of COVID -19. These measures may obviously also impact on other rail services and London Underground.

Network Rail are already putting in place crowd control measures for their managed major stations and this also entails ending some of the temporary provisions and rosters for stations without appropriate consultation with your union at any level.

Your NEC today considered this matter and stated our total opposition to attempts by the rail industry and government to impose changes in working practices from Monday 11th May. We had only previously agreed to take part in a process to discuss such changeswhich had been intended to commence and be implemented from Monday 18th May.

Given the confusion and mixed messaging generated by the government in recent days, RMT has no confidence in the ability of the government to manage lockdown or its easing.

To be clear no agreement has been made to change any working practices or social distancing arrangements from tomorrow.

Therefore if two metre social distancing cannot be maintained we consider it to be unsafe and members have the legal right to use the worksafe process. On LUL they have the legal right to use the refusal to work policy.

RMT will fully back any member who uses this process to ensure their safety.

You should therefore ensure the following in respect of how you conduct your work:

a) Ensure any arrangements are based on train usage being limited to an average of 20%
b) Social distancing must remain in place at 2m. If there are essential tasks that must be carried out where 2m is not possible then agreed mitigation must be in place.
c) PPE- Surgical masks / visors are not protection from infection and are not mitigation for any failure to implement 2msocial distancing.
d) Social distancing must be possible in staff areas after any increase in services
I will also advise members of any specific local/company level problems that emerge so that further advice can be given as necessary.
The legal right to use the worksafe/refusal to work process stems from the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Employment Rights Act 1996 which state that employees are protected by law if they decide that their work situation represents a threat of “serious or imminent danger” and as a result of this belief they remove themselves to a place of safety. See also the previous advice issue to rail and tube members.https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/publications/railcovid19briefingv1/

Your union will continue fight to put your safety firstand will support all members.

Yours sincerely


Mick Cash
General Secretary

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Tagged with: Covid-19, Tory Government, safety, social distancing