Justice for Belly Mujinga.
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This petition is managed by Lawrence Davies (Equal Justice solicitors) on behalf of Lusamba Katalay, the husband of Belly Mujinga.
Original petition 12/5/2020: This petition exists to help to find and bring to justice those responsible for the death of Belly Mujinga who died of COVID-19 two weeks after allegedly being assaulted at work by someone who said he had the virus. We believe that this cruel and senseless act of unprovoked violence ultimately likely led to her death at the hands of this relentless virus as well as the serious ill-health of her work colleague, Motolani, who was present with Belly at the time of the assault.
We know how important employment is right now and most particularly the ability to be able to travel when necessary. Many essential workers rely heavily on public transportation to get to and from work, in particular trains, the tube and buses as they provide near 24/7 access to services we as a nation need most right now. These services are vital for essential workers whilst within this global pandemic. Whilst we are grateful for their continuous existence in this difficult time what we must not forget is that whilst we utilise them there are individuals on an alternative frontline, like Belly who ultimately risk their lives to keep these services running smoothly.
Belly, her colleagues and her family deserve justice. There are serious questions that need answering and changes that must be implemented in order to prevent deaths like Belly’s happening again. Belly suffered from an underlying respiratory condition but despite telling her family she “was scared for her life”, Govia Thameslink Railways, her employer, decided this was not reasonable grounds to reduce her contact hours and allow her to work behind a protective screen, stop her working directly with passenger flow on Victoria’s concourse or provide her and her colleagues with adequate effective PPE. Govia Thameslink simply stated “PPE for our staff was not required”. The trade union, TSSA, reported the assault on Belly, namely being coughed and spat on at work, to the employer. PPE might have protected her. She should have been provided with it. This lack of protection is negligent and is a dangerous precedent that cannot be continued, the risk is simply too high.
By signing this petition you are helping to call on Govia Thameslink to provide an explanation as to why Belly was still working in direct contact with general public passenger flow whilst as her employer, they were likely aware of just how serious the risk of exposure to COVID-19 was to her, as an individual with a respiratory underlying health condition. We must also know why staff members were not provided with adequate PPE whilst interacting with members of the public, as we may never unfortunately know if this could have saved Belly.
We also ask British Transport Police to swiftly seek to identify the individual who assaulted Belly so he can face legal repercussions. London Victoria is one of the busiest stations in London, and highly likely to still have a consistent public presence due to essential workers who commute into the city. Whether it be via independent investigation or CCTV it is imperative that this individual does not get away with assaulting a dedicated, selfless individual who was simply working to keep the nation moving in such a stressful time. Nobody deserves to be assaulted at work, your employer should protect you. It would be an injustice that an act of violence so spiteful and humiliating goes unnoticed or ignored legally.
Belly was a vital essential worker but that was just her job. She was a mother, wife, sister and friend to many and her story is although upsetting, not likely individual in nature. If we are able to protect doctors and nurses we must seek to put measures in place to adequately protect those individuals that make their journeys to work where necessary, possible. All frontline workers within Transport for London and their umbrella companies should be recognised equally and PPE should be a necessity, not a luxury.
UPDATE 22/10/2020: In light of new developments and the closing of the British Transport Police’s Case we are now calling for:
- The Prime Minister to establish a public inquiry as to the circumstances that led to the death of Belly Mujinga, including the alleged covid coughing/spitting assaults on her and the extent to which her conditions of work at Govia Thameslink Railway contributed to her demise. More generally, it should examine whether the alleged inadequate health and safety work conditions that BAME/frontline workers like Belly have faced during the covid-19 pandemic, may have led to, or contributed to, the disproportionately high level of BAME deaths from covid.
- For the Coroner to establish an Inquest as to the circumstances that caused the death of Belly Mujinga
We hope this will provide us with the answers into Belly’s death that we have so far been denied.
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