Unite, which represents workers throughout public transport including over 80,000 bus workers, is warning that a ‘second spike in Covid-19 infections is becoming ever more likely due to increasing non-compliance with face covering and social distancing rules on public transport.

 

Unite warning

 

Unite issued its warning today (Friday 26 June) after transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that bus and rail timetables will return to 85 per cent of normal services in early July.

 

However, Unite is increasingly concerned that the rules on wearing masks/face coverings and maintaining social distancing on public transport are frequently being ignored, which dramatically increases the risk of infection.

 

Police powers

 

Only the police have the power to fine someone for flouting the rules on face coverings. It is responsibility of bus operators, not bus drivers, to prevent overcrowding and to order passengers not following the rules to leave a vehicle.

 

Second spike

 

Unite national officer for public transport Bobby Morton said: “Unite members are increasingly reporting the rules on face coverings and social distancing on public transport, especially buses, are being flouted.

 

“With the frequency of public transport increasing and passenger numbers rising, the danger of a second spike will be greatly increased unless decisive action is taken to ensure the rules are followed.

 

“It is not the role of bus drivers, nor do they have the power, to prevent someone without a face covering from boarding a bus.

 

“The failure of bus operators and the police to deal with this increasing problem is potentially risking the health of bus workers and passengers, and could have disastrous consequences for the nation’s public health.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

 

Bus companies must ‘get a grip’ on face coverings

 

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

 

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

 

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

 

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org

 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.