TT2 Limited, the operator of the Tyne Tunnels, is creating a number of temporary customer service agent roles, which will be offered to friends and family of staff who are unable to work or get financial support due to the coronavirus crisis.
The first three new employees started their shifts on 24 and 25 March, with a further five to join within the week.
The team at the Tyne Tunnels has been determined to keep the crossing open throughout the pandemic and has created the roles to back fill for employees required to self-isolate.
Many of the team have friends and family who have found themselves unable to work due to being self-employed or finding their jobs suspended as the crisis has escalated.
The organisation has asked current staff to make their loved ones aware of the positions and to apply if they want to join the team.
Phil Smith, CEO of TT2 Limited, said: “Talking with people, I’m astonished how quickly so many families have been affected, losing their job, self-employed and so not able to work or access government subsidies, or their training or education stopped and their lives effectively on hold. We want to help them if we can because their lives are important to our team, and so important to us.
“We’ve invited, in the first instance, friends and family of our current team to come in for assessment to take up one of the temporary positions available. We will offer roles where we can for the next several months on a first-come-first-served basis, until hopefully there is some return to normality.
“TT2 Limited has always aimed to be a good neighbour to the North and South Tyneside communities and we hope we can help the families of our colleagues while maintaining an excellent service for our customers.”
Daniel Watson, a sports coach who has been hired as part of the scheme, said: “As a local sports coach working in primary schools, it was a big shock when all the schools closed, leaving me with no income.
“For the past decade, my mam has worked in the admin building, so luckily I heard about possible tunnel officer jobs on offer. It’s definitely a relief now being back at work.”