CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

‘Protect our bus drivers from new virus threat’

Unions call for safety measures after the coronavirus deaths of 45 transport workers

23 October, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Emeka Nyack Ihenacho, who was a driver on the No 4 bus out of Holloway depot

UNIONS have warned Transport for London chiefs and bus operators not to let drivers pay the “ultimate price” as coronavirus cases rise again.

The Tribune has run a series of articles since the pandemic began calling for safety for key workers – including transport workers.

This week it was announced that a bus driver in Croydon had died, the first in what has been described as a second wave of the virus.

Earlier this year, Emeka Nyack Ihenacho, a driver on the No 4 bus out of Holloway depot, died after being infected, one of the coronavirus deaths which led to demands for more focus on safety measures.

In total, 45 TfL workers have now died.

John Murphy, the lead officer for London buses at the Unite union, said: “It is absolutely essential that all these safety measures are introduced to protect bus drivers and their passengers.

“During the first lockdown London bus drivers played a vital role in keeping the capital moving and for that too many paid the ultimate price.”

He added: “Significant safety procedures have been already introduced, but action needs to be taken to reinforce those measures.

“It is distressing that some bus operators seem to be more concerned about the financial cost of some of these vital measures. Exactly what value are they placing on a human life? We simply do not have time on our side. We need these measures to be introduced immediately to reduce the risk of infections and to save lives.”

Claire Mann, TfL’s director of bus oper­ations, said: “We will continue to do everything that is humanly possible to protect transport workers and customers. This is why we worked with Unite to deliver safety improvements and continue to work closely with them to ensure drivers continue to be as safe as possible while at work.”

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