Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

RTBU wins fines against people found spitting/coughing on workers

Apr 19, 2020COVID19 News

Anyone found intentionally spitting or coughing on a transport worker will now risk being hit with a $5000 fine and possible jail time.

The significant win in the fight for worker safety comes after the RTBU and other unions called for the fines to extended from public officers such as healthcare workers and police to all workers.

David Babineau, Secretary of the Tram and Bus Division said it’s disgraceful that the fines are necessary at all, but a significant increase in assaults on workers since COVID-19 meant that something needed to be done urgently.

He said the battle now will be to ensure the fines stay in place even after the coronavirus pandemic is behind us.

“No one should ever be assaulted simply for doing their job, but unfortunately as drivers we know assaults are all too common,” David Babineau said.

“In the wake of COVID-19 we’ve seen assaults increase. In fact, assaults on workers in regions 7, 8 and 9 were up 40% in March when compared with last year’s figures.

“There needs to be a zero-tolerance approach taken to all assaults on workers. This is a significant win for RTBU members and we’re hopeful it will result in a decrease in assaults across the board.

“Our members have reported spikes in the number of people spitting and coughing on workers lately. The impact that has on workers and their families can’t be put into words. It’s disgraceful and needs to stop.

The fines against offenders is one a numerous measures, including improved personal protective equipment, access to sanitisers, and increased cleaning, the RTBU has been working to secure for members during the COVID-19 increase.

David Babineau joined the Health Minister, Brad Hazzard and retail workers union representatives, to sign the Public Health (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Amendment Order 2020.

Click here to see it.

NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, with David Babineau, Tram and Bus Division Secretary and Bernie Smith from the SDA, the union for retail workers.