Major trade unions in the UK have demanded enhanced security measures for transport workers in the country, especially in London where at least 14 transport workers had died due to COVID-19 as of April 8. Trade unions, including Unite the Union, National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), among others, have raised concerns regarding this issue and demanded enhanced security for workers in the sector.
Unite regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said, “Each of these deaths is a terrible tragedy and the thoughts of everyone at Unite goes to the families of the bus workers who have died of coronavirus. Unite will assist the families of our members in every possible way during this terrible time.”
He added, “Unite has been working continuously with Transport for London (TfL) and the operators to ensure the safety of drivers and others in the industry who are performing a heroic job in getting NHS and care workers to their places of work. These measures include deep cleaning of buses, additional cleaning of touchpoints, the sealing of screens around the driver, the provision of hand sanitizers for all and placing the passenger seating closest to the driver out of bounds,” he added.
The RMT has stated that they are continuing to apply pressure in discussions with TfL for full support and protection for the London transport staff in the wake of the health emergency.
The UK has emerged as one of the major COVID-19 hotspots, with prime minister Boris Johnson also being infected. As of April 9, approximately 60,733 people have contracted the virus in the UK and 7,097 people have died.