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Train Cleaners’ fears over coronavirus

Mar 7, 2020COVID19 News

With the outbreak and spread of coronavirus accelerating, RTBU members have called on Sydney Trains to step up and ensure that adequate measures are put in place to ensure all cleaning staff are safe and protected against any potential spread. 

Fleet Presentation train cleaners play in integral part in ensuring that carriages are clean and free from the virus for the travelling public. However, there are obvious concerns that cleaners also run the very real risk of being exposed to the virus in carriages that have just been occupied with confirmed cases of infection.

The reports of a confirmed case of coronavirus travelling on the network and through Epping and Beecroft stations have naturally caused concern among workers and highlights the threat posed to all Sydney Trains staff.

In order to protect worker and commuter safety, RTBU members have sought an assurance from Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW that carriages would be fumigated or “misted” before they were directed to enter and clean them. This is would result in cleaners being confident that the virus had been neutralised and that the workplace was safe. The RTBU believes this would be a simple step that could be taken to allay concerns of staff and keep them safe.

Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, that assurance has not been forthcoming. The RTBU continues to call on Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW to take this simple step to ensure staff are safe at work.

Further, RTBU members are calling on Sydney Trains to increase communication with staff about confirmed cases of coronavirus and the measures being put in place to ensure their safety. To this time, there has been little communication to staff about risks caused by confirmed cases, especially in relation to the Epping case.

We can confirm that Sydney Trains is arranging a peak meeting with all affected unions to discuss the current situation and the concerns around our safety at work.  

The RTBU will continue to do everything in our power to ensure management and the government are putting appropriate measures in place to protect workers and commuters. 

As always, remember that you have an absolute right to cease unsafe work under the Work Health and Safety Act if you reasonably believe that your safety is at serious risk. This includes potential infection by the coronavirus. If you do cease work, you have to immediately inform your supervisor and make yourself available for alternative duties. 

For more information on the virus and the precautions that you can take, please visit the following link: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx

Remember that the RTBU is here to help if the Coronavirus affects you at work. Please give us a call on (02) 9264 2511 or email us on nswho@rtbu-nsw.asn.au

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