Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Union concerned by members faced with tram attacks

Aug 5, 2013Uncategorized

Sydney tram workers have raised concerns over their safety at work after a conductor was recently attacked by an drunk passenger.

The visibly intoxicated passenger took offence at being asked his destination after the conductor tried to ensure all passengers were not inconvenienced as the tram was not stopping at all stops.

The passenger loudly objected to being asked his destination and then at the limited service. Then, after being asked to calm down, he headbutted the conductor in the side of the face.

The conductor, the victim of a previous assault,  feared any defensive action could be held against him and decided not to defend himself. The driver came to his colleague’s aid and evicted the passenger.

The RTBU is extremely concerned that with rising reports of assault and aggressive behaviour, tram workers are second guessing their legal right to defend themselves, because of management decisions not backing them up.

In this instance the same conductor only weeks earlier had been strongly reprimanded for coming to the aid of a tourist passenger who was being assaulted by another female passenger.

He now rightfully does not feel comfortable reacting defensively to situations that are becoming more frequent, and believes it was only through the overwhelming evidence volunteered by members of the public that he was able to keep his job.

The RTBU notes that bus drivers working for STA undertake conflict resolution training, to help diffuse dangerous situations, as part of their refresher sessions – training that our Union pushed for.

We call on tram operator Veolia to offer similar training to their tram staff. We’d also like to see the reintroduction of more security guards on Sydney’s trams, over and above their deployment on Friday and Saturday nights.