SIPTU representatives have called for immediate action by the Government to protect public transport workers from increasing rates of anti-social behaviour, as the National Transport Authority reported a two-fold increase in incidents on Luas services in 2023.

SIPTU Transport, Aviation, Energy and Construction Divisional Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “Complaints about anti-social behaviour on Luas services more than doubled in 2023. New figures published by the National Transport Authority reveal that the number of complaints about anti-social behaviour made to the Luas Call Centre rose from 1,001 in 2022 to 2,159 last year – an annual increase of 116%.

“This surge in incidents, while shocking, comes as no surprise to our Union and its members working in public transport. In February, we launched the Respect Transport Workers campaign to highlight the threat of verbal abuse or physical harm that many transport workers have to face on a nearly daily basis. Our main call in that campaign is for a dedicated policing presence on our transport system as is the case in most other European countries.”

SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Murphy, said: “The rate of increase in complaints was far higher than the 25% rise in passenger journeys taken on the Luas in 2023. This report confirms the findings of two major surveys of our members employed on the public transport network carried out earlier this year which highlighted a dramatic rise in anti-social behaviour and abuse towards staff.

“These surveys highlighted the particular issues of racial abuse and drug taking on the transport system which we believe are playing a major role in the worsening situation for transport workers.”

He added: “Our campaign received massive public support and media attention. This led to several meetings with Government Ministers and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications. At these meetings, it was stated that our members’ concerns and calls for action were being treated very seriously. However, the time for fine words is over and what is needed is firm action by the Government on the demands of the SIPTU Respect Transport Workers campaign