Unions demand life insurance for transport workers


Unions have called on transport secretary Grant Shapps to extend the Government's £60,000 life assurance scheme for health and care workers to cover the families of transport staff who have died from COVID-19.

It is estimated that at least 34 transport workers have died from COVID-19 after being told by Government to continue working, often with no PPE.

The Government's temporary life insurance scheme covers health and social care workers but so far there has been no confirmation it would be provided to the transport sector.

Unions, including Unite and ASLEF, want a similar payment for bus and other transport workers, as that announced for NHS and social care staff by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock last week.

Mr Hancock said the Government would 'consider' extending it to other key workers, but the Department for Transport has given no response on whether the bereaved families of transport staff would receive the payments.

Unite also questioned whether the £60,000 payment would be adequate to replace lost earnings over a working lifetime.

Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: 'We are calling on transport secretary Grant Shapps to urgently investigate how the £60,000 life assurance payment, announced for NHS and social care staff, can be extended to the UK’s bus workers.

'Unite wants to work constructively with government and the bus operators to introduce such a scheme, given that there have been at least 34 deaths of transport workers because of Covid-19.

'We accept that NHS staff and social care staff are in the highest category of risk, compounded by the scandalous lack of PPE, 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.'

The DfT was approached for comment.

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