25 November 2019
RMT Press Office:
On International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, an RMT survey reveals more than 70% of women transport workers have experienced violence at work.
A new RMT survey reveals shocking levels of violence against women transport workers (those employed in rail, London Underground, on buses and ferries) with 72% of female workers reporting that they have experienced violence at work in the last year.
The most common form of violence was verbal abuse, followed by threats of violence or assault.
Appallingly 20% of incidents involved a physical assault.
An overwhelming majority of female transport workers, 79%, believe violence at work has increased in the last year.
Despite this, employers are failing to take robust action to tackle workplace violence.
65% of female workers who experienced violence were not satisfied with their employer’s response to the incident and nearly 60% of all female workers had not had been told how to report violence at work.
The comments from female transport workers describe an industry in which violence has spiralled:
“Constant verbal and at times physical abuse on the barriers” (Rail worker)
“Hit, bitten and pushed” (Rail worker)
“The man who was sexually harassing me got banned from the station until his court date, then got fined, however he was allowed to use the station after his court hearing” (Rail worker)
“Verbal threats are now received on a daily basis with weekend shifts being horrific” (Rail worker)
“The people who do this should be banned, but instead they are allowed to continue riding your buses” (Bus worker)
“I receive verbal abuse every other day, get called names being an Asian young female, I have been threatened multiple times.” (London Underground worker)
“Last 12 months, verbal, spat at, threatened. I have been physically assaulted on a number of occasions in the past as well.” (London Underground worker)
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“These findings are a disgrace. That women transport workers are being increasingly subjected to such levels of violence, abuse and sexual assault proves that employers are not doing enough to protect their workers.
"Enough is enough. Employers must have a zero tolerance approach to violence against transport workers. Violence at work is not and will not be allowed to become ‘part of the job’.
"It is vital that robust action is taken against perpetrators, so I welcome the commitment in the Labour manifesto that a Labour Government would protect public facing workers by toughening the law against abuse and violence.
"RMT is stepping up the campaign against workplace violence and will take all steps necessary to protect our members.”
Notes for editors
RMT surveyed transport worker members in the rail, London Underground, bus and ferry industries about their experiences of violence at work. 331 responses from women members in these industries were received.