Station workers ‘scared’ after coronavirus death

Belly Mujinga

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Belly Mujinga died of coronavirus after being spat at while at work in Victoria station

Colleagues of a railway worker who died with coronavirus after being spat at have described being “scared” and “vulnerable”.

Belly Mujinga, 47, was working at Victoria station in London in March when she was assaulted along with a female colleague. She died on 5 April.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Boris Johnson described her death as “tragic”.

“The fact that she was abused for doing her job is utterly appalling,” he said.

Ms Mujinga, mother to an 11-year-old daughter, was said to have told her bosses at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) about the attack, but police were not called at the time.

A police investigation has been launched more than a month after Ms Mujinga was attacked by a man claiming to have Covid-19 on 21 March.

Upon hearing the news of her death, colleague Victor Bangura, 34, said: “My whole body went into shock. I was very, very emotional. We are all vulnerable, in the same station, it could happen to any one of us.”

Linda Freitas, who has worked at Victoria for 13 years, said: “I don’t think people realise how much abuse we get. We have occasions where people become aggressive, it’s very bad, it’s scary.”

She added she was “anxious and scared” about the prospect of more commuters going back to work after the loosening of lockdown restrictions on Wednesday.

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The Prime Minister described Ms Mujinga’s death as “tragic”

A security worker at Victoria station said he was given a mask on Wednesday for the first time and had to bring his own gloves.

“I think they’re [GTR] trying to cover themselves, this should have been done right at the beginning,” he said.

GTR said the safety of its customers and staff “continues to be front of mind at all times.”

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), called for the £60,000 compensation scheme to be extended to transport workers who die with coronavirus.

In a letter to the prime minister, TSSA said: “Belly Mujinga was one of many transport workers bravely going to work to keep our country moving through the pandemic and ensuring that other key workers can get to their workplaces.

“She put herself on the front line and she has died of the virus.

“We ask you to extend the compensation to Belly Mujinga’s family and to other transport workers who die from coronavirus.”Latest figures show 42 Transport for London workers have died with Covid-19, in addition to 10 Network Rail staff.

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