5 March 2020
RMT Press Office:
RMT sets out list of demands to employers across the transport sector as Coronavirus spreads.
TRANSPORT UNION RMT has today written to employers across the industry setting out a list of core demands designed to protect the safety of both staff and the public as well as the rights and livelihoods of the transport workforce.
The union has also written to the UK Government, the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Mayor of London, who are all responsible for overseeing transport services, asking that they support these demands.
The letter covers the following areas:
Assurances that should transport workers be absent as a result of self-isolation or having contracted the Coronavirus they will receive full sick pay from day one and that any payments will not be counted against their sick pay entitlement.
Sickness Absence Procedures
Assurances that should transport workers be absent as a result of self-isolation or having contracted the Coronavirus that this absence will not be counted against, nor trigger, any sickness absence procedure.
Where employers have contractors working for their company they will be advised that they are expected to adhere to the above and not deviate in any way.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“Nowhere is more critical in terms of delaying the spread of the Coronavirus than the transport network and the union is setting out a clear set of demands designed to protect staff and passenger safety as well as the rights and livelihoods of all staff – both directly employed and contracted out.
“RMT is monitoring the situation but of course we recognise that vast numbers of our members are in constant contact with the public, often in a confined environment, and the union will take whatever action is required to protect them.”
Notes to editors
The full text of the letter to employers is set out below
Payment of Wages & Sick Pay Arrangements – Coronavirus
My members are obviously expressing concern at the possible serious implications of the Coronavirus. They are, quite rightly, mostly concerned about the health and safety of themselves and all the people they are in contact with. In the transport industry it is inevitable that my members, your staff, are more likely to be exposed to the virus for the most obvious of reasons.
Safety and welfare issues are being looked at by the government in the event of an epidemic and the stresses and strains it will place on hospitals, schools, industry and of course travel and transport amongst other matters. I have no doubt you are also making contingency plans and I will be writing to you under separate cover raising concerns, but also offering any assistance we can to mitigate the health and safety problems that may occur.
As I stated my members are primarily concerned at the health and safety implications of the virus. That said it would be remiss of this union not to ensure that its members are protected financially and their employment rights protected at this difficult time. I am asking for assurances on the following points which may need to be added to as time progresses and depending, of course, on the progress of the disease.
I seek your assurance that should my members be absent as a result of self-isolation or having contracted the Coronavirus they will receive full sick pay from day one and that any payments will not be counted against their sick pay entitlement.
Sickness Absence Procedure
I seek your assurance that should my members be absent as a result of self-isolation or having contracted the Coronavirus that this absence will not be counted against, nor trigger, any sickness absence procedure.
Where you have contractors working within your company they will be advised that you expect them to adhere to the above and not deviate in any way.
This union is keen to work with your company at this difficult time and would welcome your assurances on the above. I would be pleased to receive your response at the earliest opportunity as matters appear to be moving at an unprecedented pace.