Transport secretary Grant Shapps was urged today (Thursday 30 April) to extend the £60,000 life assurance payment for the families of UK’s bus workers, following the deaths of at least 34 transport workers because of Covid-19.
The call came from Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union representing 80,000 bus workers, which wants a similar payment as that announced for NHS and social care staff by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock earlier this week.
Unite also questioned whether the £60,000 payment would be adequate to replace lost earnings over a working lifetime, given that a deceased key worker may have had another 25 years employment ahead of them.
Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: “We are calling on transport secretary Grant Shapps to urgently investigate how the £60,000 life assurance payment, announced for NHS and social care staff, can be extended to the UK’s bus workers.
“Unite wants to work constructively with government and the bus operators to introduce such a scheme, given that there have been at least 34 deaths of transport workers because of Covid-19.
“We accept that NHS staff and social care staff are in the highest category of risk, compounded by the scandalous lack of PPE, but other key workers, such as bus workers, should be not be forgotten if the worst, unfortunately, happens.
“What we have discovered about coronavirus is that it is an indiscriminate ‘killer’ that has been responsible for the deaths of far too many bus workers who are classed as key workers, keeping the country running during this national emergency.
“There is also a further question whether a lump sum of £60,000 is enough to replace the lost lifetime earnings of a worker who has succumbed to Covid-19 – we believe it is not enough and that the government should build financially on the welcome first step already announced.”