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Government told ‘no chance’ on the lifting of transport restrictions

Transport union RMT says Tories' pipe-dream of ‘ramping-up of transport services’ on May 11 will ‘also ramp up the risk to workers and passengers’

GOVERNMENT pipe-dreams of starting to return public transport to normal on May 11 were dismissed by Britain's biggest rail union today as having “zero chance.”

An RMT survey of thousands of transport staff reveals widespread failings to protect workers and passengers from coronavirus.

In the capital alone, 14 Transport for London workers have died after contracting Covid-19.

The survey’s damning findings show that four in 10 transport workers believe bosses are putting put profit before safety during the crisis.

One in three says that employers’ provision of protection from coronavirus has been “poor or terrible” and the same proportion say that they have no personal protective equipment.

No less than 92 per cent say that no testing for the virus has taken place.

One respondent said: “We are providing a service to protect revenue before our health, our families’ health and our well-being.”

Another commented: “It’s almost impossible to socially distance. With that in mind, we need to know if we have it so we can prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “We are being told by a range of rail companies that ministers definitely want to be ready to increase rail services at some point in May.

“Yet our survey of 10,000 transport workers has shown there are widespread failures to provide even the most basic protections for our members.

“If these are not addressed, then a ramping-up of transport services will also ramp up the risk to workers and passengers.”

Mr Cash said that he would write to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warning him that there is “zero chance” of the union agreeing to the lifting of restrictions in the current situation.

Transport Salaried Staffs Association general secretary Manuel Cortes added: “Our union is completely opposed to any reopening of our railways from their current emergency state until it’s completely safe to do so for both our members and passengers.

“We reiterate our call for all staff not essential for the safe running of trains, like those working in booking offices and undertaking revenue protection duties, to be stood down without further delay if they are still at work.”

And Mick Whelan, general secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, said: “There have been no discussions on a return to full service, but given the fluctuating staff numbers, logistically it would be unlikely.”

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