Our union Unite – the trade union for the capital’s 20,000 bus workers – has secured company sick pay from day one for London’s bus staff.
The win for the workers follows intense pressure from the union on bus operators, Transport for London (TfL), the London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the national government for better protection from Covid-19 for bus workers.
In recent days, it has been confirmed that 14 London transport workers have lost their lives to the virus, nine of them bus workers. The union is concerned that London’s bus workers are being hit disproportionately by the disease.
Unite has been appalled that some bus workers may have felt that they had to come to work when exhibiting signs of having caught the disease because of the lack of company sick pay.
The union says that the victory, securing company sick pay from day one regardless of length of service, means that bus workers fearful of having contracted the illness can stay home safe in the knowledge that they will not be plunged into immediate hardship.
Regional officer for the sector, John Murphy, said: “Unite has been putting immense pressure on bus operators and TfL. The Regional secretary, Peter Kavanagh has been clear with the Mayor about our demands around this, PPE and rear door boarding on buses.
“If they fall victim to this virus, bus workers need to be able to go sick from day one, to isolate themselves and to recuperate. They should not face a terrible choice between health and hardship”.
“So, we are extremely relieved to have secured company sick pay for all bus workers in London from day one”
“Keeping people at home when they are unwell has to be part of the effort to combat this virus. With this victory we can now concentrate our efforts to make people safer at work.
“Unite is continuing to press for the best in PPE, masks and gloves to be available for bus workers, so they feel safe in their environment.
“We are also calling for the rear door entry trials to be abandoned and sealed front doors rolled out immediately across the capital’s buses.
“Our members are entitled to expect this as a minimum if they are going to continue carrying out the essential work they do, in ensuring other key workers like themselves can get to work.
“London is the epicentre of this virus. It has to lead by example in the protection of its workers and public safety.”