There are fears Covid-19 could spread among Fife postal workers as the Royal Mail stands by its policy on van sharing.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said there had been 16 confirmed cases in the Bathgate delivery office and warned sharing postal vans could contribute to the virus spreading at other sites.
In Fife, there has been one confirmed case in the Dunfermline delivery office.
A CWU spokesperson said:
The CWU said there are concerns measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus could slacken as pressure to deliver packages ramps up in the weeks leading to Christmas.“Since the pandemic outbreak we had an agreement that there should be one person per van and that was working perfectly.
“Now, while the R number is really increasing, they’re saying, on a voluntary basis, you can put two people in a van together but we’re opposing it. It’s the wrong time to do this.
“We’re saying they’re putting profit before health and safety.”
He expects this Christmas to be busier than normal as more people, unable to visit friends and relatives, reach out to others by sending presents.“The Royal Mail are saying van sharing is on a voluntary basis but we believe as we get closer to Christmas they will be trying to enforce it.
“We should be hiring another fleet of vans because our members want to deliver packets and parcels for Christmas.”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said:
“We were the first UK company to put in place social distancing measures in relation to parcel delivery. As part of those measures we moved to a one person per van delivery model.
“We know that this move has put a substantial strain on the operation and on individual colleagues. We have since received many requests from colleagues for a return to shared vans.
“We have been in regular discussion with CWU about the voluntary reintroduction of shared vans and ensuring we have the appropriate risk assessments in place.
“Following careful consideration of all the evolving guidance and the relevant safety and wellbeing aspects, we have taken the decision to allow shared vans to be re-introduced on a voluntary basis with preventative measures in place and having followed rigorous and thorough risk assessments.
“Face coverings will be mandatory, and employees who are in the extremely clinically vulnerable category are exempt from sharing vans”.