Of particular interest and importance to members will be the advice we recently provided for the union following a branch request regarding the law relating to sentences for people convicted of assaulting RMT members and the ancillary orders that might prevent them entering stations or travelling on the public transport system.
We have suggested that part of the way forward may be for RMT to lobby for a specific offence relating to the assault of public servants working in the transport system in the same way that assaulting emergency workers is now a specific offence.
The Union has supported many members involved in investigations in the past year. Unfortunately some members are involved in fatal accidents in the course of work which occur in a variety of circumstances, for example when people commit suicide or are being reckless around trains by trying to board moving trains or indulging in “surfing” or graffiti.
The issues that arise are always unique and the facts always complex.
Our task is to provide prompt and effective advice and representation. We cannot stress highly enough the importance of our early involvement. We have recently provided emergency advice over several days to RMT members following a tragedy in which two members were killed. In these cases there may be extensive investigation by the ORR as well as the police. Similarly we have been involved in the investigation of road traffic accidents which again have involved fatalities.
There are of course many other matters which are less serious vitally important to members who often face the potential of losing employment if they are convicted, for example allegations of assault pf racially aggravated assault or Public Order Act offences involving members of the public. We have had a hige amount of success in either preventing people being charged or winning their subsequent magistrates court trials as a consequence of which members keep their good character and their jobs.
Other allegations which have arisen in the course of the last year are as diverse as allegations of sexual assault in the work place, breaches of data protection and, of course, many allegations of misconduct arising from the driving of vehicles. In addition, on occasions there are accusations of fraud within services provided on trains or ferries.
Our message as ever is, as soon as the prospect of criminal investigation arises seek professional help. We are here to defend members and their interests, their reputations and to ensure the best outcomes when these very difficult situations arise. We thank the union and all the members we have represented for instructing us as it is a privilege to represent you all.
Source: RMT News Magazine – Page 21 – Issue 10 – Volume 22