RMT calls for urgent Coronavirus action on Tube

As I reported yesterday we met with the LUL Managing Director. This is an updated list of issues and demands that we made in the meeting. This morning I spoke to him again on the phone and emphasised the need to support the staff and contractors across the Underground.

We told LUL that unless urgent actions are taken, we cannot be satisfied that LUL is taking staff health and safety seriously during this Covid 19 crisis.

In particular I have demanded that LUL does the following:

  1. Immediately ensure that all staff in all LUL workplaces have ready access to hand sanitiser, gloves and liquid soap. This must be available to LUL staff and all contracted staff. Hand sanitiser must also be made as widely available as possible to passengers.
  2. An immediate function by function review of arrangements for cleaning and responding to trains/workplaces where someone has been symptomatic. This must include immediate isolation of that workplace with all staff removed to a safe place.
  3. Immediate risk assessment of all staff by line management in conjunction with Tier 1 health and safety reps.
    1. Allow vulnerable staff to stay away from the workplace without loss of pay.
    2. Allow those living with/caring for vulnerable people to stay away from the workplace without loss of pay.
  4. Immediate action needed on cleaning
    1. TFL must immediately guarantee full pay to all cleaners who have to take sick leave or self-isolate.
    2. Increase the number of cleaners available.
    3. Provide all cleaners with appropriate PPE and equipment.
    4. Give immediate training to all cleaners in how to make work areas exposed to Covid 19 safe while protecting their own health and safety.
    5.  Bring cleaners in-house now
  5. Urgently discuss with the trade unions how to implement a managed emergency service that can be maintained while projected isolations and sickness absence continues.
    1. Suspend night tube
    2. Only require members to run a service to meet the greatly reduced needs of essential users.
  6. Reduce risk at stations
    1. Review all congestion plans to prevent the build-up of crowds in enclosed passages
    2. Turn off multi-user touch screen devices and leave WAGs open.
    3. Suspend SATS.
    4. Allow staff to work behind glass as far as possible.

I have also emphasised to LUL that we cannot have confidence in any plans if our union and our reps at the appropriate levels are not included their development.

In conclusion, I am waiting for a further response to these points from LUL. As things stand, RMT remains ready to work with LUL to provide an emergency service for those essential users who will need to continue to travel in London. But for this to be possible LUL must immediately engage with us to minimise the risk to those essential workers who work on the tube.

I remind all members of the right to refuse to work if you believe there is a serious and imminent danger to your own health. Contact your safety rep for further advice on that.


John Leach, Regional Organiser

Jared Wood, N.E.C Representative