Bus firm Stagecoach hits back at Long Sutton staff's accusations over lack of hygiene facilities at depot
A local bus company has vehemently denied accusations they have forced staff to work without proper hygiene facilities and are failing to deep clean vehicles during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an email to the Citizen, staff from the Long Sutton depot claim that a Stagecoach driver went off work with symptoms of Covid-19 on March 22, forcing the depot to close, leaving workers, who had all come into contact with the sick driver, to carry on, but without toilet facilities and in particular no-where to wash their hands for three days.
However, a Stagecoach spokesman hit back and said: “In line with government advice, the staff rest and toilet facilities at Long Sutton and Wisbech unfortunately had to be closed for a period of time for deep cleaning.
"To ensure our staff still had a place to take breaks, we immediately sourced a portacabin at Long Sutton depot and made bottles of drinking water available. Unfortunately, given the high demand locally, we were unable to secure any alternative temporary toilet or wash room facilities.
"As an alternative, whilst the normal facilities were closed, employees were advised to use the public toilets, which are a short walk away from the depot. We also provided a hire car that our employees could use to drive to and from the public toilets."
One of the workers added: "They are sending us drivers out to Wisbech where there are no toilet facilities and no hand washing facilities at all and nowhere for us to have our breaks or get a hot drink. We are there on a 12 hour shift.
"I personally have told them that I refuse to work out of Wisbech and their reply was then you will be sent home without pay.
"Our buses are not being cleaned as we only have one cleaner and he cannot possibly clean the buses how they are supposed to, they are not being sanitised."
But the spokesman said: "“In Wisbech, all the public facilities in the town have now closed, however we made arrangements with the nearby local recruitment centre for our employees to use the toilet facilities there, and we have provided additional supplies of toilet roll and cleaning equipment to the centre.
“We have extensive supplies of hand sanitiser and gloves for our staff to use at both depots, and every member of staff has been issued with their own personal supply of hand sanitiser.
“The safety and well-being of our employees is our first priority and we’re extremely proud of the way our teams are pulling together to ensure we can continue to deliver transport links for key workers.
“All of our vehicles are going through an enhanced cleaning regime which is being strictly adhered to and includes extensive cleaning of the main customer touch-points. We have additional cleaning staff helping with this from nearby depots.
“It is completely untrue to suggest that we are stopping people from speaking up. We are actively encouraging feedback from our employees and trying to address the concerns they have as well as regularly speaking to our trade union representatives. We also have an independent reporting system which our staff can use to raise any concerns anonymously if they would prefer to do this.”