Lewisham Station - Assaults on Staff

Our Ref: HSR/2/2
Head Office Circular: NP/264/21
23rd July 2021
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,

Your National Industrial Organising Conference of Station and Associated Grades 2021 carried the following resolution:

This Conference sends our support and solidarity to our members at Lewisham station on Southeastern.

They have suffered a series of attacks, abuse, and assaults - often Covid-related. In one incident in February, a member was spat at in the face and others were verbally abused.

Members at Lewisham report that they have suffered 37 incidents of assaults and threats in the last two years, and these are continuing to happen.

It is a disgrace that Southeastern have not taken adequate measures to protect their staff.

We support the actions taken by Lewisham Southwark and District branch and Regional Organiser Eddie Dempsey over this issue. In addition to raising this issue with their bosses through the proper channels, they organised a protest outside Lewisham station that was well covered in the local press and they have got the support of local Labour Councillors and of the Trades Council.

We support the demands that our Union has made on management:

• Current weak risk assessments are shredded and replaced with ones that are strengthened and take into account the risk of assault.
• The company takes appropriate steps to protect staff, including the request of an additional British Transport Police presence.
• The company provides proper chain of care following incidents.
• An end to lone working in the station which leaves workers vulnerable.
• Prominent publicity campaign and announcements at the station publicising zero tolerance to assaults.

All too often, across the rail network, railway bosses do little or nothing to protect their station staff and the warnings on posters that they will “not tolerate attacks” on staff turn out to be empty phrases.

We urge our Union to keep up our support for the safety and well-being of our station members.

Your National Executive Committee, at its meeting on 22nd July 2021, noted and adopted the following report from its Health and Safety Sub-committee:

We note the resolution from the National Industrial Organising Conference of Station and Associated Grades.

The General Secretary is instructed to confirm with the Lead Officer that the demands made on the management in this case have all been met. If any have not been met, the General Secretary is instructed to write to Southeastern management to demand that any outstanding matters are addressed immediately. Failure to do so will result in us being in dispute with the company.

Further, the General Secretary is instructed to take similar steps across the industry to ensure that such incidences are less likely to occur elsewhere.

All Branches and Regional Councils to be informed.

I am acting in line with these instructions.

Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary