RMT calls for greater protection of railway workers following stabbing

RMT calls for greater protection of railway workers following stabbing

14 July 2022

RMT Press Office:

A staff member at Tilbury Town station was stabbed twice yesterday by a passenger after their ticket was challenged.

They were taken to Basildon Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

At the time of the incident, station staff were ferried into the ticket office where they could be secure from any further attacks.

The incident underlines the crucial role of ticket offices which alongside providing vital customer service, are essential safe spaces for staff who are fleeing armed attackers.

There is also a responsibility on rail employers to show zero tolerance for those who assault and abuse railway workers.

Last year RMT carried out a survey of over 5,000 of its members where well over half said they had been subject to violence assaults at work since the pandemic began.

Responding to the incident, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "This appalling incident at Tilbury station underscores the need for a zero-tolerance approach by rail employers to their workers getting assaulted at work.

"Train operating companies are planning to close all ticket offices on the network, and this would present a safety nightmare for staff who will have nowhere to go if an armed attacker is on the loose.

"If there had been no ticket office, casualties could well have increased and been life threatening for our members.

"Employers need to make it clear through visible billboards at stations that they will prosecute attackers and encourage staff to seek refuge in such circumstances.

"Too often they prioritise the customers over staff, and this has to change.

"We need an increase in directly employed staff on union rates of pay on our stations and the inconsistency in staff levels at stations addressed.

"Adequately staffed stations make our members and the law-abiding travelling public feel safe and with strong messages from employers, that can aid in providing deterrents for criminals.”

Mr Lynch also highlighted the escalating cost of living crisis as a factor in criminal attacks being carried out.

He added: “Alongside strong health and safety policies in the workplace, dealing with the cost-of-living-crisis must also be a priority. Criminal behaviour goes up when there is a rise in poverty and substance abuse. And public transport workers and other customer facing roles, bear the brunt.

“There needs to be a wage rise across the board and increased support for the unemployed to raise living standards, so people do not get sucked into criminal activity.”

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Tagged with: Tilbury Station, Stabbing, Rail Union, RMT