'One life lost, is one too many': Transport union saddened by the loss of members to Covid-19

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The Shosholoza Meyl train arrives at Matjiesfontein Station in the Karoo region South Africa. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The Shosholoza Meyl train arrives at Matjiesfontein Station in the Karoo region South Africa. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
  • Transport union UNTU says is saddened by the loss of its members to Covid-19.
  • The union lost seven members in the last week.
  • The country has recorded over 30 000 deaths.

The United National Transport Union (UNTU) is mourning the loss of several of its members to Covid-19.

This after the UNTU Disa branch of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) in Bellville, Cape Town, lost four of its members, while another three UNTU members working for Transnet died in the last week.

"The union has always been very vocal in its stance that one life lost, is one too many. Unfortunately, with this pandemic, our hands are tied.

"The lives of our members depend on how they and all those surrounding them adhere to preventative measures. Even if they do, they have no guarantee that they will not get infected and no one knows how the body of an individual will react to this virus," UNTU acting president Trevor Wasserfall said in a statement on Wednesday.

While the union said it was praying for the safety of all our members, it  also appealed to all South Africans to follow Covid-19 protocols, adhere to lockdown regulations, maintain social distancing, wash hands regularly with warm water and soap or sanitise, and wear facial masks.

"Adhering to the Covid-19 protocol is a small price to pay to try and combat this deadly pandemic that has cost the lives of more than 35 000 South Africans to date but is also killing our frail economy and bringing more hunger and hardship to the poor of the poorest," Wasserfall added.

He called on members whose jobs were essential to keep the economy going, keep an eye on each other, and support each other, stating the second wave of the virus had "exceeded our worst fears".

"It is devastating to lose a relative, a loved one, or a colleague in our union family. If you or one of your colleagues are struggling to cope, do not hesitate to ask your UNTU trade union representative for assistance so that you can get help from the employee wellness programmes provided by your employers," he said.

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