Defend Covid safety arrangements, fight for workers' control

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Sat, 10/04/2021 - 21:59,
A graphic of a sign reading "Safety First"

As we prepare for the reopening of non-essential shops, and some bars and restaurants, on 12 April, we're seeing a push on some stations to water down Covid safety arrangements. We need to push back.

We need sufficient staff on stations to operate them safely. But as long as we can do that with reduced-hours arrangements in place, we should continue to, for at least as long as public health guidance is to minimise travel and keep some lockdown restrictions in place. Keeping workers in work longer than necessary, and having an excessive staffing surplus, puts workers at unnecessary risk.

Of course, we don't want to keep Covid arrangements in place forever. We all hope that infection rates keep trending down, vaccination rates keep trending up, and lockdown easing is able to happen safely. If it does, and more people return to using the Tube, Covid rosters will need to be reviewed. Our principle should be to fight for the maximum degree of workers' control, so workers decide when and how to change our arrangements, with elected union representatives overseeing any changes. What we can't have is changes being imposed unilaterally by management.

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