LONDON bus drivers are afraid of reporting “shocking” levels of abuse including spitting and physical assaults for fear of being disciplined, their union Unite said yesterday.
In a survey of 6,000 members the union found that one in eight drivers have been spat at, 86 per cent have suffered verbal abuse and 2 per cent have been physically assaulted.
However it revealed that almost half of those who had been abused didn’t report the incidents to bosses as they feared being disciplined and did not believe that the police would investigate their complaints.
Unite regional officer John Murphy said that drivers should not have to put up with such levels of abuse at work.
He said: “The common expectation that drivers should carry on with driving duties with spit either on these screens or within the bus is unacceptable and a serious health concern for bus drivers and passengers alike.
“More needs to be done by bus operators to support drivers who are assaulted and they need the confidence that when they report it, action will be taken.”
Mr Murphy added drivers should be given time off to report incidents with DNA spit kits fitted in all buses to catch attackers and a zero-tolerance approach to any form of assault.
Transport for London (TfL) spokesman Steve Burton said: “Everyone has the right to go about their work without fear or intimidation and we will not tolerate any form of verbal or physical assault on transport staff.”
He added that TfL would support drivers who are assaulted or abused and work “tirelessly” with the police to bring the perpetrators to justice.