Railway workers consider resignation because of aggressive passengers

Aerial view of Dutch train at a bridge crossing a canalSome 94% of train drivers and conductors have been confronted with aggression at least once, according to a survey conducted by railway union VVMC and the Algemeen Dagblad among a representative 873 union members.

Nearly two-thirds of them said they had faced physical aggression. One-third said they had considered leaving their job because of their experience.

Screaming, swearing and intimidation have become normal, as have threats, spitting and pushing, the union says. One conductor was thrown off a train, one had urine thrown in his face and others had their throats grabbed. Just 10% of railway workers say they never feel unsafe.

Railway company NS told news site nu.nl that it is trying to deal with aggression together with the police. It has installed cameras and is demanding maximum damages from anyone caught threatening staff.

The closing of the public transport smart card gates at stations should also help by cutting down the number of people travelling without paying who are often aggressive when questioned, the NS says.

However, the union wants more done and wants to talk to justice minister Ivo Opstelten when he visits train workers in Amsterdam on January 20.

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