SBS Transit will help staff pursue civil action against abusers
It will help with costs and get them lawyers after incidents involving commuters refusing to wear masks
SBS Transit will back its staff if they wish to pursue civil action against their abusers, and it will also help with the costs and get them lawyers.
In a statement yesterday, it said it will not tolerate abuse against its staff after several recent incidents made headlines.
"(We) will fully back any staff who wishes to defend their rights beyond the criminal justice system and file for civil action," SBS Transit said.
"This means helping victimised staff navigate the legal system, including appointing representation as well as undertaking the costs."
It noted several incidents in the past few months relating to the enforcement of the mask-up rule.
In the most recent incident on Tuesday, a bus driver was allegedly attacked by a man who was said to have initially boarded without a mask on.
The driver in the incident suffered minor injuries and a man was arrested.
The statement also mentioned a Facebook Live video that went viral following an incident on Aug 19, when a man was denied entry onto the bus for wearing a neck gaiter.
In the video, the man had alleged that he was being discriminated against and the police were called in to defuse the situation.
SBS Transit acting chief executive officer Cheng Siak Kian said attacks against its staff must stop.
"Our people go to work every day to do their jobs - including enforcing strict rules and regulations. To be called names, abused or even attacked, for asking someone to put on a mask, or pay the correct fare, is wrong," he said.
In a statement yesterday, Mr Melvin Yong, the executive secretary for the National Transport Workers' Union said: "Over the years, public transport workers have received better protection under our legislative framework.
"Moving forward, the union will continue to work closely with the authorities and the different public transport operators to examine how we can step up on deterrence measures to further protect our public transport workers."
In a Facebook post yesterday, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said he had a dialogue with SMRT workers on Wednesday and found that many of them raised the issue of difficult commuters who do not wear masks or do not wear them properly.
Calling it disturbing, he said everyone has a simple civic duty of wearing a mask in public.
"Transport service staff are doing their job, making sure the system is safe for all of us," he wrote. "Such blatant disregard for fellow commuters... is despicable."
He also commended SBS Transit for fully backing its bus captains.
"Out of 100 commuters, 98 are nice but two are rude," he wrote.
"Let's stand up against the two - and be the 98 who keep each other going."