Great Britain

London bus firms told to give drivers full sick pay to self-isolate after coronavirus deaths of 14 transport workers


LONDON bus drivers have been told they will get full sick pay after the number of TfL workers who have died from the coronavirus hit 14.

Typical pay rates should be between £300 to £500 per week depending on the length of service, but in reality many bus drivers are receiving lower sums.

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The MailOnline revealed that after hardworking bus drivers had been getting buy on as little as £153.32 per week, TfL told all of London's private bus operators to offer full sick pay.

Speaking anonymously to the MailOnline, a Metroline driver working in north west London said he had a "big row" with his boss when his son had a chest infection and he had to self-isolate.

"We had a big row and in the end I got £153 for the week. Bus drivers live hand-to-mouth as it is," he said.

"They're pushing us to work, that's the biggest problem. Drivers are making that decision: do I go to work or don't I?"

A Metroline spokesman said no driver should be forced to work if they have symptoms of the coronavirus and recommended that any driver who has been offered low sick pay should complain to Human Resources.

The news comes as angry London bus drivers shared pictures of filthy vehicles online.

Transport workers say they are working in dirty conditions while 90 per cent of the capital’s buses and more than half of Tube services are still operating despite the lockdown.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who appeared on Good Morning Britain, said Transport for London had sought advice from Public Health England, the Department for Transport and the World Health Organisation on whether drivers should have PPE.

He said: “What they've told us is that PPE should only be used in care settings.

“You know the shortage there is of PPE for our NHS and care staff, as recently as yesterday we rechased the government to get advice on this.

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“Their advice is quite clear transport workers should not be wearing PPE.”

Mr Khan also offered his condolences to those who had lost their lives and set out the measures being taken to protect the public transport workers.

He said: “We've made sure we've had the most enhanced cleaning regimes we can do, we've learnt lessons from around the world so far example we make sure we use antiviral hospital-style disinfectant, regularly cleaning key touch points during the course of the day.

“So on the buses, not just the bus garages and depots but the steering wheels and the handles.

Mr Khan also said a plastic film was being used to cover holes in the plastic screen separating the drivers and passengers.

Anne Nyack appeared minutes after Mr Khan's interview to speak about her son, Emecka Nyack, a bus driver in Holloway, north London, who died from Covid-19.

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She said: “It made me very, very angry that Sadiq Khan is saying 'they're doing this, they're doing that and they're doing deep cleaning'.

“They're not doing deep cleaning, they're just spraying it.

“Sadiq needs to get out there and have a look at the buses and see what conditions the drivers are operating in they're at risk my son was at risk, sadly he died. “

Mr Khan responded: “What I do is follow the advice from WHO and PHE, their advice is; in non-care setting people shouldn't be wearing PPE.

“It is personal to me - my dad was a bus driver, many of my friends and people I know work in public transport and I work regularly and closely with the transport unions including bus drivers on a regular basis.”

He added Transport for London was looking at getting passengers onboard via the back doors.

Mr Khan also claimed all 9,000 buses currently driving around the capital have been installed with a perspex film covering holes in a plastic shield between drivers and passengers.

But one Twitter user has rubbished that claim, saying a driver was forced to use cling film instead.

Mr Khan added: “They really aren't being ignored, it is personal we're making sure we're taking steps in London that are world leading in this area I wouldn't want anyone to be under the impression that we're neglecting or ignoring our bus drivers or our transport workers, they're as brave as our NHS workers.”

Among the driver deaths are three devoted dads - including Nadir Nur, 48, who leaves behind a 10-month-old daughter Sahra and four other children.

Mohammed Nehman, who worked as a bus driver in Birmingham and TfL worker Mohamud Abdulle, both fathers of three young kids, also died.

London bus driver Said Musse and supervisor Paul Aheto have also died from the virus, along with Rodolfo Silva who worked for bus company Go-Ahead London.

Their friends and families have now paid tribute to the "exceptional" and "cheerful" men.

Mr Abdulle's friends said: "He was an exceptional individual and had a heart of gold.

"He was hard-working, intelligent and always looked out for others around him supporting them as much as he could.

"The saying ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly’ is an understatement when it comes to Mohamud."

Mr Khan decided to run a reduced service for trains and buses across the capital during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pictures taken since the lockdown began have shown workers crammed onto the captain's transport network.

Hero NHS workers slammed the decision, accusing Mr Khan of "herding" workers into packed public transport.

The mayor has said he can't put more trains on because a third of TfL's staff has gone off sick.

Anne Nyack, mother of coronavirus victim bus driver slams Sadiq Khan for lack PPE as 14 TfL staff die from bug

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