Unite – the trade union for the capital’s 20,000 bus workers – has secured sick pay at full wage from day one for all London’s bus staff, it was announced today (Saturday 11 April).
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.
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 a lack of sick pay.
The union says that the victory, securing 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.
Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “Unite has been putting immense pressure on bus operators and TfL, and Peter Kavanagh, Unite’s regional secretary, has been clear with the mayor about our demands.
“If they fall victim to this virus, bus workers need to be able to go on sick pay 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 sick pay at full wage 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, continuing to press for the best in PPE, including making masks and gloves available for drivers, so they feel safe in their environment, and for the sealed door trials to be abandoned and sealed doors rolled out immediately across the capital’s buses.
“London is the epicentre of this virus. It has to lead by example in the protection of its workers and public safety.”