London bus workers win sick pay from day one in overwhelming Unite victory

Bus workers were reportedly going into work when they felt ill

Trade Union Unite has won an incredible victory for the London bus workers currently risking their lives whenever they go to work during this pandemic.

London’s bus drivers and other people working across the network are counted among the key workers who are still going to work, while the rest of us stay safely inside.

Public transport workers are continuing to go out so that NHS staff and other key workers can get to where they need to be to fight coronavirus.

So it’s a big win for Unite as they have now managed to win full sick pay for London’s bus workers from the first day they are off ill.

Unite, the trade union for London’s 20,000 bus workers, were appalled that some bus workers felt they had to come into work, despite feeling ill and in some cases exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 because of a lack of sick pay.

But now, as of Saturday April 11, after putting intense pressure on the bus operators, Transport for London (TfL), London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the national government, Unite can celebrate a victory.

Sadly, 14 London transport workers have already died from coronavirus. Of these, nine people worked on the buses.

The hope is that by introducing day one sick pay, nobody who even feels a little bit unwell will risk coming into work and spreading the disease.

Bus workers, no matter how long they have been in the job, can now stay at home for the required length of time in the knowledge that will receive full sick pay if they get ill.

Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “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.”

Lucy Skoulding is a freelance reporter at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter.

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