Rail union calls for zero tolerance on violent customers

The
TSSA rail union has called on train operating companies to introduce a
zero-tolerance policy on violent customers after a safety report revealed
assaults on staff have risen for the third successive year.

The
Annual Safety Performance Report for 2003, produced by the Rail Safety and
Standards Board, was released today. It addresses risks on or affecting Network
Rail’s controlled infrastructure.

It
shows that reported assaults on rail staff have risen by 18 per cent, while
shock or ‘no-injury’ cases rose by 33 per cent.

TSSA
said the fragmented rail industry has not yet settled on a common method of
reporting workforce assaults, resulting in discrepancies between reporting
rates in train operating companies.

The
union fears that this leads to the under-reporting of assaults on rail staff.

General
secretary, Gerry Doherty, said: "It is unacceptable that rail staff are
bearing the brunt of the public’s frustration with a failing rail service
through verbal abuse and threats of violence.

"This
is putting staff under intolerable stress, and we call on the industry to take
the issue seriously by introducing a zero-tolerance approach to customers who
behave in this way," he said.

By Michael Millar

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