Furious drivers have hit out at bus bosses after they were forced into a U-turn over staff leave during the coronavirus pandemic.

First Bus employees were told earlier in the week they would still have to turn up for work even if they had underlying health issues.

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A message from managing dir­ector Andrew Jarvis on Tuesday instead advised staff to approach management if they were suffering from issues such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

A driver, who asked not to be named, told The Glasgow Times: “First aren’t doing very well in telling anyone how to do anything. They are telling people they are giving drivers hand sanitiser and that is just nonsense, they are not.

“They are not going out to protect anyone and it was just the bottom line when they said people who were high risk had to go to work.

“I know drivers who have got kids with serious breathing problems and they are being told to come to work. It’s shocking and drivers are now wondering if they have to go to work or not because it is all mixed messages you are getting from them.”

It’s understood First chiefs have now relaxed their policy and told workers with underlying health problems they can stay at home if they want to. But, staff say they are still looking for answers.

“We are being told we will not be paid if we go in,” the driver continued. “It is just a worrying time for us all.

“To force folk to go to work in the way they did with the first letter they sent at the start of the week was shameful. It is putting folk in grave danger.”

Mr Jarvis said: “The safety of our staff and customers is our number one priority as we all battle to limit the spread of the coronavirus, while supporting and maintaining a ­service for essential travel journeys for key workers.

“Across our businesses we are doing all we can to protect and reassure our hard-working colleagues who help to provide an essential service, making sure other key workers are able to get to and from their workplaces.

“We have stepped up our cleaning regimes to include additional vehicle cleans and regular disinfection of all grab rails and poles, entrance door handles, window ledges and other touch points.

“Many of our customers already use contactless payments, which we encourage wherever possible. Our drivers in Glasgow are fortunate in that they do not handle cash and all cabs in Glasgow are already fitted with a screen to protect drivers.

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“In line with current Government advice and support available, like other operators, we are introducing a policy supporting drivers who need to take time away from the business if they are vulnerable, at risk or have caring responsibilities for those in that position.

“We will be discussing this on a case by case basis and are actively engaging with our driving staff and trade union colleagues as to how best we can support our workforce during this challenging and unprecedented time.”