Abused public transport workers to get guaranteed legal support
Public transport workers abused in the course of work will now receive guaranteed legal support from the union and their employers should they want to pursue civil action against their abusers.
Yesterday, the four public transport operators here and the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) signed a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide all necessary support to such workers, including legal action.
It follows a spate of high-profile abuse cases on Singapore's buses, which has seen a spike this year as drivers come into conflict with passengers over mask-wearing rules amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
There was previously no guarantee that legal action by public transport workers would be backed and supported by the union and their employers.
Mr Melvin Yong, executive secretary of NTWU, said that with the MOU, the workers are given this assurance.
"We want to send a strong deterrent message that such abusive acts will not be tolerated. A police report will be made for every assault case against our public transport workers while on duty," added Mr Yong, who is MP for Radin Mas.
The MOU was a result of a series of month-long discussions that involved SMRT, SBS Transit, Tower Transit Singapore, Go-Ahead Singapore, NTWU and the Land Transport Authority.
It comes even as NTWU is exploring other preventive measures, such as plastic screens around the bus driver's seat, to stop egregious acts from hostile, and sometimes drunk, passengers.
SBS Transit's acting chief executive officer Cheng Siak Kian said the MOU shows no effort will be spared in helping such victims seek justice.
Tower Transit managing director Winston Toh said abuse of public transport workers goes against the "caring commuting culture that Singapore aspires to".