38 TTC bus operators walk out due to "workplace safety concerns"

Apr 16 2020, 7:02 am

On Thursday evening, 33 bus operators at the TTC’s Queensway Division initiated work refusals due to workplace safety concerns.

Earlier that day, an additional five bus operators initiated similar action on the same grounds, this time at the Wilson Division.

The TTC’s Stuart Green said that in the case that took place in the evening, the Ministry of Labour reviewed the situation and determined that the circumstances didn’t meet the conditions for a work refusal.

Reportedly, operators returned to their duties, save for those whose shifts had ended by the time the ruling was declared.

For the situation that occurred earlier on, the ministry inspector similarly ruled that the reported conditions didn’t meet the standard of a work refusal under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Green says that further, they determined that the employer — the TTC — “has measures and procedures in place for prevention of COVID-19 associated hazards.”

In their findings, ministry inspectors reportedly cited the transit operator’s protective measures including: the plexiglass barricade that bus operators can close, the blocking off of seats immediately behind operators, the use of rear-door boarding, and a collapsible barricade.

Each of these measures provide operators with physical distancing.

Also cited by the inspectors, Green said, was the provision of protective equipment such as disposable gloves, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer to every operator.

The ministry noted that the TTC is in the process of sourcing and manufacturing washable, reusable face masks. Those masks will be optional and will be issued to operators in multiples of three to five each within the next couple of weeks.

Operators are currently free to wear masks if they so choose.

Since late January, the TTC has also been performing multiple daily cleanings of its vehicles.

At time of writing, 17 TTC employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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