In the week ending 9 May, railway industry bosses signalled intentions to go for a unilateral ramping up of services from 11 May, despite no national agreement with the unions being in place to facilitate that.
Unions had been negotiating towards an agreement, with a projected date of 18 May in mind for a possible increase in services. Bringing that forward a week could mean many of the safety measures implemented during the pandemic, such as temporary rosters to eliminate non-essential work, could end without new arrangements being put in their place.
On the Tube, bosses had insisted there would be no ramp up on 11 May, and there was none, though traffic has increased a bit at least in some areas over the last couple of weeks.
Tube bosses say they are still working towards 18 May.
Rail union RMT has rightly issued advice to all its members reminding them of their legal rights to refuse to work in unsafe conditions.
If bosses impose a ramp-ups without putting additional safety measures in place, and it becomes impossible to maintain safe distancing in the workplace (either between us and our workmates, or between us and passengers), workers have to refuse to work. It’s that simple.