NMBS shocked by new case of physical aggression on train…

© MARC HERREMANS – MEDIA HOUSE

In a train at the station of Ottignies, a train conductor was the victim of serious physical aggression on Friday evening. The NMBS railway company condemned the incident in a statement on Saturday and criticized the sharp increase in the number of cases of aggression against railway staff.

Laurence TorckSource: BELGIAN

This year, the NMBS has already registered more than 1,300 cases of aggression against employees. That is an increase of no less than 56 percent compared to the same period in 2020 and 53 percent compared to the year before, before the corona crisis erupted. A clear increase in the number of cases of aggression has been noticeable, especially since the beginning of September of this year, the company says. While until recently the incidents mainly followed discussions with travelers who do not have a valid ticket, it is now often about non-respect of the sanitary measures, says spokesman Dimitri Temmerman of the NMBS.

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Spontaneous actions

Temmerman cannot provide more details about the recent incident, but he does say that the victim was transferred to hospital and has since been able to leave the intensive care unit. An investigation has been launched to find the perpetrators, which will also make use of the surveillance cameras present. Meanwhile, top woman Sophie Dutordoir again calls for respect and calls any form of aggression towards NMBS staff unacceptable. As a result of the aggression, spontaneous actions have arisen among the staff, as a result of which several trains have been canceled.

Finally, the NMBS emphasizes in its response that the railway company submits a complaint and takes up a civil party in every case of aggression. The judiciary has also been expressly requested to prosecute any act of aggression and to apply zero tolerance, it said.

Federal Minister of Mobility Georges Gilkinet endorses the statement of the NMBS management in a communication to Belga. “No act of violence against SNCB personnel, or more generally against persons holding public office, is acceptable. Behind the uniform are people, mothers and fathers, who deserve respect for the essential role they play in ensuring passenger safety and smooth train traffic. All my solidarity goes out to them,” said the minister.

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