Unite, which represents over 80,000 bus workers, has welcomed the announcement today (Thursday 4 June) that passengers on public transport will be required to wear a face covering before boarding and throughout their journey.

The new requirements will come into effect from Monday 15 June in England.

Unite lobbying

Unite first called for it to become compulsory for passengers to wear face coverings in order to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19, last month and has been actively lobbying the government on this matter.

The union is also calling for the maximum capacity of buses to be reduced to protect drivers and passengers from becoming infected, a measure that has already been introduced in most of Yorkshire and London.

Tragic deaths

Bus drivers have been particularly at risk of dying from Covid-19, with 33 bus workers in London having died and drivers in other parts of the country also known to have died during the pandemic.

Correct move

Unite national officer for public transport Bobby Morton said: “This is the right move from the government.  The wearing of face coverings has been shown to reduce transmission of Covid-19. It will improve safety for both drivers and passengers.

“With no imminent cure for Covid-19 or a vaccine becoming available, the wearing of face coverings on public transport should become the new normal.

 “In the short-term, the government should follow the lead of various parts of Yorkshire and London and impose a reduced maximum capacity on all buses to further reduce the danger of infection.

 “Unite is committed to working with the government and bus operators to ensure that, as infection rates fall and the lockdown further eases and bus usage increases, passengers and drivers are not placed at risk.”

 ENDS

Notes to editors:

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

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