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RMT survey reveals half of transport workers face verbal and physical threats on a daily basis
Tensions have been running high since the pandemic began, something that is highly evident on public transport, where frustrations have often come to a boiling point.
A survey by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers of more than 1000 London Underground, Overground or Transport for London rail service workers, shows staff have been subjected to more workplace violence from passengers since the pandemic began.
Altogether, 56% of respondents reported being threatened with physical violence, with 87% reporting verbal abuse.
One transport worker commented that "being sworn at every day and confronted with violence and aggression has become part of the job", highlighting the severity of the problem.
The public being abusive towards transport workers is not a new phenomenon. However, the increase seen in this survey is unprecedented. What could help is tailored training that can be adapted to the reality of today’s environment, so transport staff and employers are ready for any situations that could occur. Training in spotting flashpoints that can be de-escalated could also improve the working lives of staff.