SIPTU has launched the ‘Respect Transport Workers’ campaign to demand greater safeguards for staff on bus, rail and Luas networks following a survey by the Union that revealed more than 80% suffered regular incidents of abuse.

Launching the campaign in Liberty Hall in Dublin, SIPTU TEAC Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “SIPTU members employed within public transport provide a vital service to our communities. They should never be the subject of abuse during the course of their work.

“Unfortunately, a survey conducted by our Union of members employed in the Transport Sector has revealed the grim reality that a large number, in excess of 83%, felt that abuse and anti‐social behaviour was an issue for them at work.”

He added: “One in five of the survey respondents said they experienced these issues on a daily basis with a further third saying that incidents occurred at least once every working week. The majority of those who have endured abuse at their job believe the problem has got worse in the last 12 months.”

SIPTU Transport Sector Organiser, John Murphy, said: “This issue has been a long time concern for our members. However, since the pandemic our members report a serious increase in the number and severity of incidents on the public transport system. We need action on this issue immediately.

“The Respect Transport Workers campaign has three demands. These are the immediate establishment of the National Transport Advisory Council which has been part of legislation since 2008. This Advisory Council would include unions, public and private transport operators, disability groups and others with an interest in the operation of the sector. The Advisory Council must have direct input into transport policy.”

He added: “Our members also want the development of a unit dedicated to policing the public transport system and a ‘Transport Charter’ outlining what is unacceptable behaviour towards staff.”

At the launch of the campaign SIPTU members described the incidents of anti-social behaviour and abuse they have endured at work. The union began distribution of a new ‘Respect Transport Workers’ lapel badge, the design of which is inspired by the logo of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union which was founded by Jim Larkin at the beginning of the last century.

Find out more about the RESPECT campaign here