Following health and social care secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement earlier this week that the government would pay a £60,000 life assurance sum to the families of NHS and social care staff who have died from Covid-19, today (April 30) Unite called on transport secretary Grant Shapps to do the same for bus workers’ families.
Unite are urging Shapps to do so following the deaths of at least 34 transport workers because of the pandemic.
Representing 80,000 bus workers Unite also questioned whether the £60,000 payment would be adequate to replace lost earnings over a working lifetime – given that a deceased key worker may have had another 25 years employment ahead of them.
Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton wants the transport secretary to urgently investigate how the £60,000 life assurance payment, can now be extended to these key bus workers. He added that in light of the 34 deaths Unite wanted to work constructively with government and bus operators.
“We accept that NHS staff and social care staff are in the highest category of risk, compounded by the scandalous lack of PPE,” commented Morton, “but other key workers, such as bus workers, should be not be forgotten if the worst, unfortunately, happens.
“What we have discovered about coronavirus is that it is an indiscriminate ‘killer’ that has been responsible for the deaths of far too many bus workers who are classed as key workers, keeping the country running during this national emergency,” he said.
But Morton is also concerned about the sum itself. “There is also a further question whether a lump sum of £60,000 is enough to replace the lost lifetime earnings of a worker who has succumbed to Covid-19 – we believe it is not enough and that the government should build financially on the welcome first step already announced.”
By UNITElive team @unitetheunion.org