Caroline Russell by Chris King Photography

News from Caroline Russell: Risks to BAME transport workers are unacceptable

04 June 2020

London bus drivers have reported they have been spat at while working 60 times since lockdown[1], Caroline Russell AM is calling for better protections for transport workers.

Alongside the news of spitting assaults on bus drivers, the Government was forced to publish its delayed report into the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities[2] after a public backlash.

Caroline Russell says:

“There is now clear evidence that more people from BAME groups are dying because of coronavirus. BAME people working as security guards, taxi drivers and chauffeurs, bus and coach drivers are also among those with the highest increase in all cause mortality.

“Transport worker safety has been a huge concern all through the coronavirus crisis and I was appalled to hear that there have been 60 reported spitting attacks on bus drivers since the start of lockdown. Spitting at bus drivers is not only disrespectful but also dangerous when it can spread a deadly virus.

“The awful death of Belly Mujinga, who was spat at and tragically died of coronavirus, has shocked the country. Although British Transport Police said her assailant didn’t have coronavirus, it is clear that she was targeted and assaulted while simply being at work. This is completely unacceptable, and her death is a tragedy for her family, her friends, her colleagues, and for London as a whole.

“I will not stop raising these issues with the Mayor through my work on the London Assembly to get better protection for transport workers and especially BAME colleagues who are more vulnerable in this current crisis, and who were, and still are, already exposed to racist behaviour and attacks.”

Notes to editors

[1] TfL Commissioner’s Report – June 2020 – Page 7 http://content.tfl.gov.uk/board-20200602-agenda-and-papers-supplentary.pdf

[2] Public Health England - COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-review-of-disparities-in-risks-and-outcomes

 

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