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Bus operator Go North West accused of causing a ‘public health crisis’ by running scab bus service

A BUS operator in north-west England was accused today of risking a “public health crisis” and putting passengers’ lives in danger by running a scab service in an attempt to break a strike.

Go North West has “fired and rehired” 400 drivers at its Queens Road depot in Manchester, slashing their wages by £2,500 a year.

The workers are on indefinite strike and the TUC north-west region has appealed to other unions and workers for support.

Photographs and videos produced by Unite show buses so crowded that social distancing is impossible.

The scab service is being run with the help of other privateers whose workforces are not unionised, with these firms providing drivers from across the country.

The depot is being picketed every day.

Greater Manchester civic authorities have ordered that single-decker buses should carry no more than 18 passengers, with none standing, to limit the spread of coronavirus. 

The evidence produced by Unite shows as many as 44 people on a scab bus, many of them standing.

Unite regional secretary Ritchie James said: “This is now a public health crisis and local politicians in Manchester must act immediately to ensure that the rogue bus service is suspended immediately and does not resume until measures are introduced to prevent the public health of everyone in Greater Manchester being placed at risk.”

The union has written to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham alerting him to the danger.

In a message of support, the TUC north-west region said: “We stand together with them in solidarity.”

Go North West has been approached for comment.

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