London bus drivers describe intolerable heat: “All we have been offered by management is a bottle of water!”

As temperatures reached record highs today across the UK, the World Socialist Web Site spoke with bus drivers in London who described breaches of workplace health and safety that have the potential to endanger lives.

Temperature inside London bus driver’s cabin, Monday July 18, 2022 [Photo: WSWS]

A driver from a London United garage in west London said, “Drivers were booking off and going sick with exhaustion last week when temperatures were around 27 C even before the higher temperatures today.

“All we have been offered by management is a bottle of water! The air conditioning is not working on the ADE’s (Dennis 400) vehicles and drivers have been reporting that on the hybrid buses helped them do not have working air conditioning.

“The trains are being canceled but the buses stay on the road. This issue about unsafe working temperatures has been going on for 10 to 15 years. They could have been checking the fleet in January ahead of the summer to ensure the air conditioning was working.

“We know for a fact that the belts that drive the air conditioning units have been removed–it has been proven by spot checks. The air conditioning units use more diesel, so the companies are saving money. The cost of diesel is worth more than our welfare and lives.

“There have been no risk assessments. The union has flagged up the issue with the fleet and failures with the air-conditioning, but management has ignored it. All they care about is profit and TfL lets them get on with it.”