Unite call for all London bus workers to take a minutes silence on 17 April

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Unite the union has paid tribute to bus and transport workers in London who have died after contracting coronavirus ahead of a one minute’s silence being held at 11am on Friday 17 April and demanded that more be done to protect those still working.

The union, which has more than 20,000 members working on buses throughout the capital, heralded the ‘heart-breaking sacrifice’ of the 21 London transport workers, including 15 bus drivers, who have died keeping the capital’s public transport network running in a time of ‘critical need’.

Unite said its members are ‘running out of patience’ with bus operators and Transport for London (TfL).

Unite regional secretary for London, Pete Kavanagh, said: “Unite pays tribute to those bus workers who have died during the coronavirus pandemic and our thoughts are with their loved ones at this incredibly painful time. Their heart-breaking sacrifice, at a time of critical need, will never be forgotten.

“Far too many bus workers have lost their lives during this crisis and our members are well aware that the danger has still has not passed. Unite has 20,000 bus worker members across the capital. It is quite clear to us that they are running out of patience with the operators and TfL, and we share their frustrations.

“These workers should feel that everything possible is being done to make them feel safe at work, but they don’t. We call again upon TfL to close the front doors on all buses to ensure central boarding only by passengers.

“TfL, the employers, the mayor and the government all need to urgently address all issues.”

In addition to central loading, Unite is demanding that TfL instigate a London-wide inspection regime for cleaning at all garages.

Furthermore, the union is calling for the establishment of limits on the number of passengers that can board at any one time, as well as the requirement that passengers cover their faces while using public transport.