Three out of four rail, bus and other transport workers have been victims of verbal abuse or violence in their jobs, a new study suggests.
Research by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) indicated that one in four transport workers had been physically assaulted in the past year.
The most common form of attack was verbal abuse, but transport workers also described being spat at, sexually assaulted, racially abused and threatened with violence or physical assault, said the RMT.
The union said attacks were happening on the railways, London Underground, buses and ferries, despite employers promoting advertising campaigns against violence to transport workers during the festive season.
The RMT said that while alcohol-related incidents peak during the festive period, the results of its survey among hundreds of its members proved that work-related violence is a year-round problem. One rail worker said he had been assaulted more times in a year than as a prison officer of 15 years.
A female London Underground worker said: “A member of the public came up to me and told me he was going to take me round the back of the station and rape me.”
A ferry worker said he suffers abuse every day in the work place.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is clear from these findings that violence and abuse against transport workers has reached epidemic proportions, exacerbated by increased lone working, cuts to staffing and cuts to the police force.
“Coming just days after a particularly brutal incident at Manchester Victoria, RMT will be stepping up the campaigning on this issue, with the demand for urgent and decisive measures to be taken to protect staff throughout the industry.
“Transport employers must take action to prevent violence and protect their staff and there must be tougher penalties against those who offend.
“It is frankly disgusting that the very same group of workers that the Government is planning to ban from taking strike action to defend safety are the ones getting battered day in and day out with little or no serious protection.”
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