Zero-tolerance call over railway Covid breaches and staff abuse

Union bosses have called for zero tolerance for any breach of rail Covid safety measures or abuse of railway staff.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 2:08 pm

The RMT spoke out as railway timetable changes meant an increase in services at the same time as lockdown measures eased, leading to a rise in passenger numbers.

Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said: “The Government and transport authorities must be clear to the travelling public about the importance of observing public transport Covid regulations – passengers need to be told they must comply with measures such as face masks to protect passengers and workers and to prevent the virus spreading.

“There should be zero tolerance of any breach of transport Covid safety rules or abuse of transport staff, who have been key workers heroes throughout the pandemic.

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“Transport employers must do all they can to ensure compliance and the responsibility for enforcement of these rules should not fall on rail staff.”

East Midlands Railway, which operates London-Sheffield and Norwich-Liverpool services, both via Chesterfield, said it was a matter for the Rail Delivery Group, the British rail industry membership body.

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‘Railway staff have worked tirelessly’

Northern Trains runs services between Nottingham and Leeds, via Chesterfield.

The RDG said it had been working with British Transport Police, which is responsible for enforcing the law on the railway, throughout the pandemic, particularly around face coverings.

An RDG spokesman said: “Railway staff have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep Britain’s trains running.

“As restrictions ease and more people travel, we ask that everyone continues to follow Covid guidance and treats staff and other passengers with respect at all times.”

Chesterfield station is also served by Northern Trains’ services between Nottingham and Leeds and CrossCountry Trains services between the South-West and North-East.

A Northern spokesman said: “We need all of our customers to play their part to help keep each other and our staff as safe as possible.

“Face coverings remain mandatory on all trains and stations and everyone – aside from those who are exempt – should do their bit and keep their faces and noses covered.”

A CrossCountry spokeswoman said: “‘Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to ensure we have safety measures in place that protect both our customers and colleagues.

“As we move further through the recovery plan we will continue to assess the situation and use measures as is appropriate.”

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