TSSA today called for staff who aren't essential to the running of trains to be stood down after Northern Ireland Railway Workers were spat at causing fears of infection with coronavirus.
The male passenger spat at and abused staff at Belfast’s Great Victoria Street station and attempted to assault both security staff and a female police officer.
Staff on the Derry/Londonderry train called security after the passenger who was drunk and had vomited on himself and soiled his pants refused to leave the train.
The station’s Duty Inspector, Gerry Kennedy, attended the scene with security and called the police, who arrested the man. The incident caused delays on the Derry line for the following three hours.
TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said:
"Sadly, being spat and sworn at is a hazard our members face on a daily basis. It’s never acceptable, but at a time of global pandemic it is a much more serious assault.
"Our members are extremely anxious that they may have been infected with the coronavirus. They were doing their jobs, keeping the trains running so key workers could get to work.
"Nobody should be punched, sworn at or spat at just for doing their jobs. But this is especially true during this coronavirus crisis.
"I’m delighted that the police have taken it seriously and arrested the passenger. But, this incident demonstrates how essential it is that Northern Ireland Railways stand down all unnecessary staff on full pay immediately to protect them from unnecessary risk."