Unite, which represents tens of thousands of public transport workers, is calling on the government to reverse proposals to end the requirement for masks to be worn on buses and trains.
Unite issued its warning as ministers have indicated that from Monday 19 July the wearing of face masks will no longer be compulsory but a matter of ‘personal responsibility’.
The requirement for passengers to wear masks is particularly sensitive for bus drivers due to the very high numbers who have died of Covid-19.
Unite also believes that restrictions on the maximum capacity of passengers on buses should also remain in place.
Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said, “To end the requirement to wear masks on public transport would be an act of gross negligence by the government.
“Rates of infection are continuing to increase and not only does mask wearing reduce transmissions it helps provide reassurance to drivers and to passengers who are nervous about using public transport,” Morton added.
“The idea of personal responsibility and hoping that people will wear masks is absolutely ridiculous, members are already reporting there is an increase in passengers ignoring the rules on mask wearing,” he continued.
“Until rates of Covid-19 are fully under control, throughout the whole of the UK, the rules on mask wearing on public transport should remain in place.”
By Barckley Sumner