When it comes to social distancing in the workplace, there’s a lot of good practise on LU stations right now. Whether due to local management actually having some common sense, or frontline staff simply taking action and implementing distancing measures, we’ve seen such actions taken as:
• The use of tensa barriers and tape to mark our distancing zones around gatelines and POMs
• Staff rotation and redeployment around the station to ensure maximum distancing
• Repurposing of rooms around the station so staff don’t have to crowd into small mess rooms
But a frankly dangerous lack of common sense still reigns in some locations. Perhaps the worst offender is a station where the Area Manager has said, in writing, that they believe “business as usual” should prevail as much as possible. We don’t want to name that station just yet, as both local and Functional union reps are on the case, and we hope their efforts will be successful without the matter having to be turned into a public scandal.
But if the AM refuses to back down and implement the necessary measures, LU may well find itself with a public outcry on its hands over the fact that one of its managers seems intent on putting public and staff safety at risk by trying to maintain “business as usual” during a virus pandemic.
We also need more action from the company centrally. Although an employee bulletin recommending that station staff “avoid” touching the POMs was issued, LU has held back from a directive that they simply be switched off. Clearly, the company is concerned about its revenue. But a few extra pounds is far less important than safety. The machines should be switched off, and gates left open.