Attacks on railway workers: team spirit on buses and trains

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Written By Maya Cantina

Verbal and physical attacks on railway workers are increasing. The association is calling for more security guards for the European Football Championship.

Two DB Security employees.

DB Railway Security employees stand in an S-Bahn station in Munich Photo: Peter Kneffel/dpa

BERLIN taz | Railway union EVG requires an extensive safety concept for the European Football Championship. The association expects an increase in the number of passengers for the games in ten different German cities. She is therefore calling for more federal police officers and twice as many railway staff than normal to be deployed between June and July.

Because violence against local and long-distance transport workers is increasing. This shows a questionnaire from the beginning of May among 4,000 union members. “The results are shocking when 8 in 10 employees have experienced a sexual assault. We have seen an increase in attacks, especially in the last 12 months,” says EVG board Martin Burkert. Most often, employees are spat at (43 percent) or have objects thrown at them (41 percent).

More than two-thirds of respondents have felt increasingly unsafe during their shifts over the past five years. A third of employees, mainly women, also say they have experienced sexual violence. “The alcohol bans that exist at train stations must be more strictly enforced. We are experiencing an increase in attacks on female staff, especially after major public celebrations,” says Burkert.

A spokeswoman for the German train confirms the increasing violence. In 2023, there were 3,144 attacks on DB employees. To protect staff, more body cameras will be used in the future.

Deutsche Bahn increases safety in trains

She wants that before the European Championships DB employs 900 additional security guards. Burkert welcomes this decision, but doubts whether there are sufficient staff available. The security sector is also facing a labor shortage. To support staff, the EVG calls for more video surveillance at stations, in trains and at central reporting points, also after the European Championship.

The EVG denies that it is calling for a strike during the European Championship, as stated in some media reports. However, works councils can reject deployment plans if they are concerned about the safety of staff. Trains then actually stopped.

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