With the government coming under increasing criticism for its slapdash approach to the Covid-19 outbreak, our safety depends on us putting forward our own emergency plan to protect our and our passengers' health.
As the situation develops, necessary measures may change, but right now, we demand that our employers (and our ultimate employer, the Mayor of London), do the following without delay:
- increase cleaning standards to the level necessary to minimise risk
- take control of all TfL operations, including cancelling private contracts and bringing services, especially cleaning, in-house
- guarantee that all transport staff, whether directly or indirectly employed, can stay off work if following government guidance, with no threat of disciplinary action or loss of pay
- take serious measures to reduce unnecessary social contact: likely to include: reducing the service; suspending Night Tube; shutting multi-use touchscreen devices such as ticket machines (and therefore allowing people to travel without tickets); congestion control; allowing staff to work from home where possible
- demand the restoration of the government grant to TfL, plus emergency funding to deal with the crisis and associated loss of income
- establish a monitoring committee, including representatives of passenger groups and trade unions, to sit in permanent session during this crisis to scrutinise information and recommend necessary actions.
Of these, the last is particularly important, as it allows us to keep up with a rapidly-changing situation and to assert the right of working people - workers and passengers - to scrutinise and drive the policies that directly affect us.
We want our unions to put these demands to the employers - and ultimately, the Mayor. But this is an issue for everyone, so we can build support for it among the travelling public, and the wider labour movement.
With the Labour Party having suspended all meetings, there is a danger of the Mayor keeping himself a safe distance from accountability to the movement. So it would be particularly useful to ask Labour Party members and postholders to endorse these demands, to increase pressure on the Mayor to act.