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‘Transport workers should not have to bear the brunt of societal problems’

TSSA general secretary hopeful Maryam Eslamdoust tells the Star about the horrific spike in assaults on TfL staff

URGENT action is needed to stop horrific verbal and physical assaults on transport workers across London, TSSA said today.

The transport union’s members running buses, trains, trams and other services across the capital told the Morning Star that a growing numbers of attacks and passengers carrying guns, knives and even an axe have left many fearing for their lives at work.

TSSA president Melissa Heywood slammed the “unacceptable” situation, while Maryam Eslamdoust, who is running to become the union’s next general secretary, warned that what Transport for London (TfL) staff are facing is “nothing short of a horror show.”

She urged bosses to intervene and called for greater investment in the British Transport Police after workers described a post-coronavirus “free-for-all” with little law enforcement presence across the network.  

Ms Eslamdoust told the Star: “It is no coincidence that a spike in assaults against transport workers coincides with a lot of people experiencing turmoil right now.

“What we are seeing is nothing short of a horror show — our transport workers should not have to bear the brunt of societal problems. Tfl need to address this urgently.”

A London Underground worker who wished to remain anonymous told the Star that they had suffered two verbal and physical assaults in the last two months alone. 

“This is the worst I have seen customer behaviour in the 15 years I have worked here. In the last two weeks, customers have been found with a loaded gun, a zombie knife and an axe.

“I fear going to work and the effect it’s having on my mental health is telling — since Covid it’s become a free-for-all with little police presence.”

Another worker, who did not wish to be named agreed, saying: “Staff reporting no police seen and anti-social behaviour, leaving them fearing for their lives.”

A third anonymous staff member described a recent assault which resulted in a lengthy period off work and therapy sessions.

“I fear that it will take someone losing their life for the company to really tackle the assaults that we face on a daily basis.”

The worker also criticised the process for logging incidents, saying many go unreported because police rarely attend due to them, believing that the assault is “not serious enough.”

TfL was contacted for comment.

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