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TSSA calls on Scotland and Wales to avoid premature reopening of transport

28 April 2020

TSSA is today calling on leaders in Scotland and Wales not to irresponsibly rush a premature ramping up of transport services.

 The union has learned that employers in Scotland – including Network Rail in Scotland – want to reopen offices and reinstate services, despite no end to lockdown and a commitment to social distancing of 2 metres remaining in force – legally so in Wales.

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes is calling on Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford to prevent any premature reopening which may threaten the health of transport workers and passengers.

Manuel Cortes said: "Today of all days, when the trade union movement mourns our dead during International Workers Memorial Day, the papers are full of stories saying that public transport services will soon be ramped up putting both our members and the travelling public at risk. That’s why I’m calling on Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford not to irresponsibly rush a premature ramping up of transport services even if the Tories want to do so.

“We are getting more and more reports of pressure and plans from management to return our members to their workplaces and increase service even though there are no safety plans in place and the need for it has not been explained.

“We believe that increasing rail services at this point is both impractical and unsafe for both our members and the travelling public.

"It’s clear that 'social distancing' will be with us for many months to come. Keeping a distance of 2 metres between people raises particular difficulties and questions for our transport sector and these simply haven’t been answered.

"How will social distancing be maintained at stations, on trains, and in our railway workplaces? Rushing the return of staff to workplaces and running more services is dangerous both for our members and our passengers. And Nicola and Mark should put an end to this dangerous nonsense.

"Our Union has clearly stated that clarity from Government and industry-wide common principles need to be established as a first step towards considering how re-mobilisation might proceed in a safe and sustainable way.

"Our Union will continue working with our rail industry to develop a framework for re-mobilisation planning, but until we have a much clearer picture, we will continue to oppose premature and ill-conceived plans to return to business as usual."

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