Unite, the UK’s leading union, which represents thousands of bus workers in Yorkshire, has welcomed the announcement that face masks will remain compulsory in West Yorkshire bus stations.

Patchwork protection

The union warned, however, that the patchwork protection of compulsory mask wearing that is emerging in the UK is creating chaos and confusion for workers and passengers alike. Unite said this is a direct result of the government’s reckless announcement that face coverings will no longer be compulsory on public transport from next Monday (July 19).

The Mayor of West Yorkshire,  Tracy Brabin, has today (Wednesday 14 July) announced that she is using her powers to continue to make the wearing of face masks compulsory in all bus stations in West Yorkshire.

Power limited

Brabin has also made it clear that she would like to make mask wearing compulsory on all buses and trains in West Yorkshire, but does not have the power to do so.

Her intervention follows the announcement that mask wearing will remain compulsory on all forms of public transport in London and in Scotland and Wales.

Unite has written to all its members in England and advised them of their legal right to stop work if they believe they are in imminent danger due to non-mask wearing passengers.

Right thing

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said: “Tracy Brabin has done totally the right thing and is maximising her powers to try to ensure the safety of bus workers and passengers in West Yorkshire.

 “Due to the government’s reckless and dangerous decision to end compulsory mask wearing, there is going to be chaos and confusion across public transport, with some companies and areas enforcing mask wearing, while others fail to do so.

 “Tracy Brabin is right to urge all passengers to wear masks but we should not be in this position. There was no good reason to end compulsory mask wearing by the government. It is creating uncertainty and anxiety for passengers and bus workers.

 “If passengers are confused by the patchwork nature of the new rules, they must not take their frustrations out on public transport workers, but blame the government, which has acted recklessly.”


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.