One in five Tube staff report being physically abused, says union

London Commuters Face Strike Action Travel Disruption
The survey described staff getting knives pulled on them, racist and sexist slurs thrown at them, and even attempts to push staff onto the train tracks. (Source: Getty)

One in five Tube staff have been physically assaulted by passengers while working, according to the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT).

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The union's survey also found that one in 10 workers reported being sexually harassed by passengers.

Three quarters of surveyed staff reported being verbally abused, with one in five experiencing abuse more than 20 times a year, while 18 per cent have been physically abused by passengers.

RMT general secretary Mike Cash said that there is a “growing tide of violence and abuse across the London transport network” that requires “decisive action”.

“That means more staff, making the objective 'zero tolerance' a reality rather than just a slogan and ensuring that decisive action is taken against those responsible for verbal and physical assaults and that those cases are well publicised to deter others,” he added.

Cash said that the abuse Tube workers face stems from “the current environment”, which “has emboldened those with hatred and violence on their minds”.

A third of the workplace incidents relate to race while one in 10 relate to gender, with the issue of immigration figuring prominently in the survey.

One Tube worker reported that they have been repeatedly “told to go back to my own country (I was born in London)”, with another saying: “It was also repeatedly thrown in my face that immigrants will soon go home and leave London Underground jobs for British people.”

Nigel Holness, managing director of London Underground, said: “Everyone has the right to go about their day without fear or intimidation and we do not tolerate any form of physical or verbal assault on our staff or customers.”

In addition to working closely with the police, Holness added that Transport for London (TfL) is “committed to working alongside our trade unions”.

Read more: Violent crime on the Tube rises 43 per cent

The survey comes ahead of a key summit today where TfL bosses, police, trade unions and other staff will discuss workplace violence and preventing abuse.