Danish rail staff report high incidence of abuse at work

Staff on board Denmark’s trains are subjected to both physical and verbal abuse when at work, rail employees said in a survey.

Danish rail staff report high incidence of abuse at work
File photo of rail staff at Copenhagen Central Station. Around 80 percent of train personnel said they had recently been verbally abused at work in a survey. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

In the survey, conducted by the trade union for rail workers Dansk Jernbaneforbund, one in five rail staff said they had received physical abuse at work at some point during the last three months.

Almost 80 percent meanwhile said they had received verbal abuse during the last three months.

Some 415 rail workers took part in the survey.

The abuse is most likely to occur when staff check the validity of passengers’ tickets.

The chairman of the trade union, Preben S. Pedersen, said that the number of staff facing aggressive working environments was too high.

“These numbers tell us a grim story about what our colleagues experience every day out on the trains. And too many people experience an excessively harsh working environment, where violence occurs frequently,” he said in press statement.

“We must and should not accept that situation,” he said.

Staff must not be alone on trains, he stressed.

“We must make sure that staff are never working alone on routes where this occurs most frequently,” he said.

“Secondly, we must train front line staff even better to handle conflicts so they have the best and newest remedies in their tool box,” he said.

A majority of train staff also said that the atmosphere on board trains has become worse since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There are groups which react very negatively to authorities and who think it is okay to abuse our staff verbally. Staff in other sectors have also reported this trend,” Pedersen said.

“I think we need to speak out against this trend if it is to be turned around,” he said.

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Why the electric bicycle is gaining popularity in Denmark

Denmark is known as a cycling nation, but an increasing number of people in the Nordic country are opting for an electric motor on their bicycle.

Why the electric bicycle is gaining popularity in Denmark

The popularity of electric bicycles has charged forwards in Denmark over the last decade.

While very few electric cycles or elcykler were sold in 2011, almost a quarter of all bicycles sold lad year were fitted with electric motors, according to a new report from the Danish Roads Directorate (Vejdirektoratet).

The report is based on a survey of around 3,000 people in Denmark.

While the electric bike has traditionally been seen as a mode of transport for older members of society, its use has become more widespread according to the Minister of Transport, Thomas Danielsen, who said he welcomed the increased use of electric bikes.

The minister noted that 32 percent of electric cycle-owning Danes are now under the age of 40, pointing out its use in rural locations with less public transport coverage.

“When you live somewhere where buses don’t leave eight times an hour, you need an alternative. In this sense it’s positive that the electric bicycle is gaining ground,” he said.

“Where 10-15 kilometres is too much for pure pedal power, the electric bicycle can make (cycling) a genuine alternative for daily transport,” he said.

The electric cycle is most popular in regional towns, where 16 percent currently opt for the chargeable bike.

Reasons giving for preferring it in the report were its easier use over long distances and ability to save travelling time compared to the regular push-bike.

Around half of electric bicycle users in the survey said it had fully or partially replaced their car.