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Non-essential transport workers must be stood down, union demands

NON-ESSENTIAL public transport workers must be stood down in light of a massive drop in railway travel, TSSA said today.

The rail union’s call came as statistics from Downing Street showed a widespread decline in the use of public transport since the coronavirus lockdown took effect, with the number of rail journeys now just 20 per cent of what is usually is.

TSSA was set to have a meeting with the Commons transport select committee today.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said that the drop in public transport use was “good news” as only essential front-line workers should be travelling during the pandemic.

The union believes that key workers must be given free travel to their workplaces, as has been implemented by Transport for Wales and in the West Midlands, he said.

“Very sadly, we have seen some deaths among public transport staff and I’m now urging the government to make it clear that all non-essential public transport workers should be stood down. This must be a matter of priority,” Mr Cortes said. 

“We need a standard approach on this across our railways and the wider transport network. 

“We know that some companies continue to have booking offices and gate staff working at stations: this flies in the face of the government’s own advice.”

Mr Cortes said that he was happy to work with ministers during the crisis “because we must all realise that this is a battle for lives, not company profits.

“I hope they have the good sense to act so that no-one is working on public transport without due cause.”

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