Call to Vaccinate essential transport staff as next priority – TSSA

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Transport and travel union TSSA (Transport Salaried Staffs Association) has written to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan calling on him to ensure that essential frontline transport workers are prioritised for vaccination against Coronavirus.

In the letter, TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes says that frontline transport workers have “put their lives on the line” during the pandemic and requests that all essential transport workers are next in line for vaccination after vulnerable groups and healthcare workers.

Currently transport workers are listed with “Key Workers in essential jobs who cannot avoid a high risk of exposure to Covid-19.” TSSA is arguing that public transport workers are essential to the vaccination programme, allowing vaccination staff and patients to travel to their appointments.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said: “With covid case numbers in Ireland now the highest in Europe, there is a race to get people vaccinated. It is absolutely right that vulnerable groups and healthcare and care workers are first in line for vaccination. After that, we want to see essential transport staff getting the lifesaving vaccinations.

“From getting key workers to hospitals and moving vital supplies around the country, our transport key workers have kept the country moving through the pandemic. Many have lost their lives to the virus, but they bravely continue to serve during this time of crisis. Now for our vaccination programme to be successful it is essential that healthcare staff, and those receiving vaccinations, can rely on public transport to get them there.

“We must vaccinate transport workers as the next priority and I’m calling on Eamon Ryan to back this important step to protect our transport network.”

A copy of the letter is provided below:

Dear Eamon Ryan,

I’m writing to you on behalf of transport workers across Ireland to ask that all essential transport workers are next in line for vaccination after vulnerable groups and healthcare and care workers.

Currently transport workers are listed with “Key Workers in essential jobs who cannot avoid a high risk of exposure to Covid-19.” However public transport workers are essential to the vaccination programme, allowing vaccination staff and patients to travel to their appointments. We believe that public transport workers should therefore be vaccinated at the same times as other Key Workers who provide essential services to the vaccination programme.

Transport workers have worked right through the coronavirus pandemic, often on the front line ensuring that vital healthcare and care workers, other key workers and supplies get to their destinations. They have put their lives on the line, and many have sadly died from the virus.

As a trade union representing transport workers across rail, buses, ferries, and in engineering and support roles, we request that essential transport workers are included in the next priority order for vaccination against this deadly virus. All of these modes of transport are strategically essential to our country being able to function and it can only be safely delivered with healthy staff.

Please protect our transport networks by vaccinating essential transport staff as a priority following vulnerable people and healthcare and care staff.

Yours sincerely,

Manuel Cortes