Nine of ten train workers were abused last year

no image
No image availableNL Times

A massive 90 percent of railway employees faced some form of aggression at least once last year. Threats, harassment and robberies are almost daily occurrences, according to a survey done by railway union VVMC and newspaper AD among nearly a thousand train conductors and drivers.

Two thirds of the train workers were victim of between 1 and 10 violent incidents last year. Ten percent suffered even more than twenty attacks.

Attacks include train workers being kicked, spit on, beaten, insulted, robbed or even threatened with a weapon. One conductor was beaten up with a dog's water bowl. Another was thrown between the train and the platform. Eight conductors reported being strangled.

These incidents are much more common than NS believes, because 57 percent of railway workers no longer report incidents. 65 percent of them think that nothing will be done with the report and almost a quarter are afraid that they will get into trouble with the boss.

According to the conductors and drivers, much of the aggression has to do with people traveling without a ticket and alcohol or drug abuse. Train delays and acting tough are also high on the list.

Almost a year ago the government, unions and NS announced a package of measures to increase security on the trains. These measures include police officers on major stations, extra cameras and mirrors, accelerated closing of turnstiles and additional personnel on certain trains. Last week NS announced that it's hiring 200 extra employees for extra security on night trains. Yet only 1 in 10 railway workers thinks that any of these measures actually increased the security.

Despite all the incidents, the drivers and conductors still give NS a score of 7 out of 10. "In spite of everything, I have a great job", one said.