25 January 2021
RMT Press Office:
RMT warns “complacent and callous” approach is leading to surge in COVID-19 deaths and illness amongst rail workers.
TRANSPORT UNION RMT has today warned that a complacent and callous approach to the increased threat from COVID-19 is leading to a surge in deaths and illness of transport workers.
The union says feedback it has received reveal the number of deaths and illnesses due to coronavirus amongst rail workers have at least doubled since November.
Department for Transport figures also show that rail use is three times higher when compared to the last national lockdown
The union also claims that creeping complacency and a callous refusal by transport bosses to mandate a nationwide overhaul of risk assessments to take into account the heightened risk of the new virus has lead to the surge.
RMT is calling for transport workers to be classified as a priority group to receive the vaccination, not only to protect lives but also to ensure the railways can continue to transport essential goods and workers.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“A more infectious and now it seems more deadly variant of the Covid-19 virus plus an increase in passengers numbers is a lethal cocktail threatening rail workers, with deaths and illness doubling since November.
“But instead of responding to our call for a urgent national review of all risk assessments we are being told its business as usual – this is as callous as it is complacent.
“We are advising our members of their right to stop working if their safety is threatened and I will be seeking an urgent meeting with Grant Shapps asking that he intervenes to take speedy action to address the new threat and also to prioritise transport workers for the vaccine.
“Both steps are necessary not only to save lives but also to protect the resilience of the transport network.”