Railway employees demand action over “surge” in violence

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Lanarkshire railway workers this week launched a protest against what’s claimed to be a steady rise in violence towards staff.

Members of rail union RMT gathered at Hamilton Central - where workers are said to be continually at risk of assault - but stressed there’s a problem with violence and abuse across the network.

The union accuses management of choosing to ignore a situation said to have been growing steadily worse over the past two years, despite repeated warnings, and has highlighted the “scandalous” situation at Hamilton.

In a leaflet handed to passengers the union says: “Workers at this railway station are under direct fear of violence and other variations of assault whilst just turning up for work to serve you.

“For over two years we have asked the employer to take action.

“We have yet to see any significant action or change from Scotrail on the matter; that is why we are holding this demonstration.

“We are desperate to see changes that give our members and workers here at Hamilton Central some protection from violence and assault whilst they are at work.

“We do not believe that is too much to ask for in 2017.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said: “It is truly appalling that rail workers have no option but to mount protests to force the rail operators and the Scottish Government to wake up and take action over the surge in violence at Hamilton Central and other points on the Scottish rail network.

“Our members are telling us in stark terms that the gangs are winning and it is open season on the front-line rail staff who are offered no serious protection by Scotrail.

“There are also clearly some issues in terms of the justice system and the restrictions it places on the police in terms of taking serious action to stop the gangs.

“This scandal has to stop before it’s too late and RMT expects those in control to take responsibility and act to protect our members out there in dangerous and vulnerable conditions.”

In response ScotRail Alliance has stressed that the safety of staff and customers is always its number one priority.

It says the crimes taking place are completely unacceptable, and not just restricted to the railway station, and that it is working with the police to ensure those responsible are brought to book.