Service with Respect campaign image showing key workers wearing face masks

Service with Respect

Raising awareness and tackling the hostility faced by front line staff.

About the campaign

Nearly 80% of the UK’s workforce are working in customer-facing roles and mounting abuse is affecting staff across every sector – from retail to public services; financial institutions to our public transport networks.

Research by the Institute of Customer Service reveals that more than half of customer-facing staff have experienced abuse from customers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic – ranging from verbal abuse such as shouting and abusive language to, in the most extreme cases, physical assaults.

TSSA has many members in customer-facing or front-line roles across a range of railway, transport and travel workplaces. Statistics from the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) reveal that the number of assaults is increasing as a percentage of the travelling public – so despite passenger numbers being down, assaults as a proportion of those travelling are not (RSSB Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railway Quarterly Report 2020/21, Quarter 3, October-December 2020, published March 2021).

Front line transport workers experience abuse far too regularly. Incidents include:

  • verbal abuse
  • threatened physical assault
  • indecent exposure
  • physical assault

These incidents can have lasting effects on workers, including staff taking time off work, impact on physical and mental health and wellbeing, ability to carry out duties, fear of repeat assaults.

TSSA is pleased to support the Service with Respect campaign being run by the Institute of Customer Service. We are one of several trade unions and associations involved in this campaign and we urge our members to get involved.

Find out more

Take action

There are lots of practical actions you can take to help tackle abuse of front-line workers:

  • support the campaign by displaying the logo and spreading the word on social media, in branch meetings or other opportunities
  • adopt a zero tolerance approach to hostility and abuse against workers
  • hold regular catch ups with members who are front-line staff and keep close to what is happening
  • encourage members to report incidents
  • access and/or call for investment in appropriate training and tools for staff to handle the new (and increasingly challenging) duties they are being tasked with, and to deal with potential conflict as it arises
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If you are a TSSA member and are looking for advice or assistance in connection with your employment or membership, you can contact our Members’ Helpdesk.

We can advise on a range of workplace issues including; discipline and grievance hearing, maternity rights and redundancy.

Helpdesk opening hours: 09:00 - 17:00 Monday - Thursday  |  09:00 - 16:00 Friday

Please note: we cannot undertake to provide advice to non-members, to members of other unions, or to members on behalf of their partners/friends. If you are not yet a member, please join TSSA online.