Unite has secured company sick pay from day one for London’s bus staff.

The win follows pressure from the union on Transport for London (TfL), bus operators, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the national government to better protect bus workers from coronavirus COVID-19.

The union has now confirmed that 14 London transport workers have lost their lives to the pandemic. Nine were bus workers. Unite says it is concerned that London bus workers are being affected disproportionately by the disease.

The victory means bus workers fearful of having contracted the illness can stay home and secure company sick pay regardless of length of service.

Regional Officer for the sector John Murphy says: “Unite has been putting immense pressure on bus operators and TfL. The Regional Secretary Peter Kavanagh has been clear with the Mayor about our demands around this, PPE and rear door boarding on buses.

“If they fall victim, bus workers need to be able to go sick from day one, isolate themselves and recuperate. They should not face a choice between health and hardship. With this victory we can now concentrate our efforts to make people safer at work.”

Unite continues to press for PPE such as masks and gloves to be made available to bus workers. It is also calling on rear entry door trials to be abandoned and that sealed front doors are applied to the capital’s buses.

“London is the epicentre of this virus,” adds Mr Murphy. “it has to lead by example in the protection of its workers and public safety.”