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Women face ‘growing epidemic’ of sexual harassment on public transport, union warns

by our Industrial reporter @TrinderMatt

WOMEN face a “growing epidemic” of sexual harassment on public transport, the RMT union warned today, with both passengers and workers being targeted.

The union’s latest survey of female staff, published on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, found that a massive 70 per cent were aware of passengers being sexually harassed in the last five years.

Sixty per cent confirmed that they had been victims themselves, but the majority (two-thirds)  of them did not report incidents because they feared that they would not be taken seriously. 

According to 72 per cent of the respondents, the problem is getting worse. 

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that the “shocking findings must mean an immediate end to the government’s planned staffing cuts across our public transport networks.

“Cuts to staffing will do nothing to protect passengers from sexual harassment on public transport and risk deterring women and girls from [using the network]. 

"There should be more information about how to report sexual harassment on public transport and victims must been given confidence that their reports will be taken seriously, with action taken against perpetrators.”

Mr Lynch’s call coincided with fellow transport union TSSA demanding that the Scottish government scrap planned cuts to station staff  to avoid making the railways less safe for women.

Earlier this year, the Docherty report recommended closing scores of ScotRail ticket offices and slashing more than 1,000 jobs from the industry.

TSSA general secretary Manual Cortes said: “The best way to make sure that our railways in Scotland continue to be a safe and comfortable place for all passengers is for them to stop the staffing cuts and ensure that the network is properly staffed at all times.”

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