Covid-19 – new duties must work for us
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Firstly, the RMT THSC applauds the amazing efforts that you our members have put into supporting other key workers in getting to where they need to be. But let us be clear, providing this service is based on our belief that the number of people using the railway must be manageable for Train Operators to be able to observe Social Distancing whilst carrying out their role, of course there will be operational exceptions that must be managed as best as possible.

Predictably, LU recently proposed to introduce new schedules that failed to consider Social Distancing or any other safety concern raised by this union. Indeed, LU were quite open that their schedules team didn’t even bother to consider any safety impact of the new sheets. Despite quite clear and justifiable arguments raised by us against the imposition of these sheets on safety grounds, LU and their nodding colleagues in the other union, left us with no alternative but to enter into dispute, the RMT being the only union to do so.

Today at ACAS, the RMT forced LU to withdraw from imposing the new schedules next week and made LU indicate that they would go away and reconsider their position. The RMT impressed on LU that it was time to accept that we are dealing with a life and death health issue and not just a run of the mill alteration to rosters. So, what do we want? The RMT now calls on LU to get serious and work with us to ensure the Safety of our members and those who use our railway.

To enable this the RMT THSC calls on LU to;

  • Accept that we are in unprecedented times • Discard unworkable schedules
  • Accept that a blue print for safe operation must be developed
  • Recognise that we cannot progress without Safety rep involvement
  • The involvement of Safety reps must be meaningful and directive
  • If required to assist Social Distancing temporary alterations should be considered to existing requirements
  • Establish and manage TCA, Messroom, Quiet room etc occupancy levels
  • Provide safe walking routes for members as much as possible
  • Consider the level and usage of welfare facilities
  • Consider changes to turnaround times to allow hand washing and safe changing of ends
  • Remove unnecessary travelling between work locations
  • Consider how we can enable staff to travel to work safely
  • Provide Train Operators with a full view of how LU is managing risk on their lines
  • Finally, provide requested additional PPE rather than glibly telling us that Public Health England advice says it’s unnecessary

The RMT THSC along with our Head Office representatives have left LU in no doubt that these conditions must be met for us to be able to work safely