12 July 2021
RMT Press Office:
On the day politicians are set to confirm final steps in lifting of lockdown RMT warns political leaders of “fatal folly” of removing transport Covid protections.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford RMT has today warned of the fatal folly of removing Covid transport protections.
The warning comes as governments are finalising changes to Covid-19 protections.
In the letter (below) to the leaders RMT general secretary Mick Lynch seeks assurances the governments will,
“not impose changes to existing Covid-19 protection arrangements that could result in an increased risks of illness and death for workers and passengers.
This includes for example the continued requirement to wear face-coverings, social distancing, enhanced cleaning and ventilation standards. It could be a fatal folly to suddenly remove protections such as these, especially when they have been proven to work.
In the case of masks for example moving from a mandatory requirement to an optional requirement will not only reduce protection for passengers and workers but also create confusion and conflict throughout the transport system.
We are also concerned that many transport operators will seek to put profit before safety by scrapping enhanced cleaning regimes.
In addition, as our public transport network has no physical borders, we would urge you to a take a unified approach with the best possible protections and arrangements to avoid contradictory and confusing arrangements on cross border rail services.
RMT has pointed out that many of the Covid measures that are currently in place in the transport sector are as a result of consultation and agreement with RMT and other unions and as such all measures to address the pandemic must remain in place, unless on the basis of the evidence, there is agreement with the unions to do otherwise.
Mick Lynch said,
“This week we risk seeing a bonfire of the very regulations that have protected passengers and workers. As well as scrapping such obvious protections of face coverings we are also concerned that operators will want to scale back on other protections such as enhanced cleaning.
“This could be a fatal folly and also entirely unnecessarily when there is no reason why our political leaders could not take a more cautious approach, especially when infections are soaring.
“We are also calling for a more unified approach to avoid contradictory and confusing arrangements on cross border rail services.
“Transport workers have risked and, in some cases, tragically lost their lives keeping goods and people moving through the pandemic, the very least they deserve is support for the principle that changes should be through consultation and agreement with them and their unions.”