1 May 2023
RMT Press Office:
48% of bus workers have experienced incidents of workplace abuse in the last two years, an RMT survey has revealed.
The most common form of abuse suffered was verbal (90%), over a fifth were spat and over 10% experienced physical assault.
Racial harassment was experienced by over 10% of staff and over 60% of respondents have had to deal with threats of violence at work.
Shockingly, 97% said they did not get any support (such as counselling or working arrangements) from their employers following an incident.
The deregulated nature of the industry is illustrated by the fact that 94% of respondents said they were not paid company sick pay following their attack at work and 84% said they did not get any additional support, such as Occupational Health Assessments or phased returns to work.
Nearly half of respondents (42%) said they did not report incidents of abuse at work as they did not think the employer would take them seriously.
One RMT member said: “The mentality from management is that it’s just part of the job unless it’s a really serious assault and will affect passenger’s opinion of company reputation."
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said “The survey results are an outrageous indictment of privatised bus companies and the government's failure to fund services properly.
"Those decision impact directly on our members being able to work safely as this survey shows.
“It seems like many bus companies don’t care about their staff. Companies should invest their profits into more reliable buses which don't keep breaking down, should time the routes properly to take account of congested, narrow and inappropriate routes, and provide an improved frequency of services.
"Lots of abuse and violence originates from the frustrations of passengers who are either running late, herded onto crowded, low-frequency services on clapped-out buses and charge too much money in fares.
“Any abuse towards staff should not be tolerated and all instances of abuse should be followed up appropriately.
"Staff should feel supported instead of being fearful that they will be blamed for the incident”.
Notes: There were 694 respondents to the survey.