Translink is offering a cash reward to anyone who can help to secure a conviction after a female conductor was indecently assaulted on a train at the weekend.
The female conductor had intervened with a group of rowdy male passengers on the Londonderry to Belfast service on April 14 when one of the men grabbed her. She was also verbally abused.
The conductor was then grabbed for a second time by another member of the group as they were exiting the train at Mossley West.
Commenting on the assault, a Translink spokesperson said: “We thoroughly condemn all instances of anti-social behaviour and have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to anyone that physically or verbally abuses our staff or customers.
“Our staff have a right to work without encountering such appalling and unacceptable behaviour. We will be working with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to fully investigate this incident using CCTV to assist in identifying perpetrators and to support any prosecution process.”
The spokesperson added: “We also offer a cash reward of up to £1,000 to anyone willing to go to court to give evidence that helps to secure a conviction.
“Our staff member is being offered the appropriate support.”
Condemning the incident, SDLP representative Cllr Noreen McClelland said: “I am appalled that this woman faced such disgusting abuse while simply doing her job.
“I am all too familiar with the abuse women face every day across this province, whether it be behind closed doors, or in this case, in public.”
The Glengormley DEA representative added: “These actions should not be dismissed as ‘lad-ish’ behaviour, but rather called as it is - a disgusting assault - that has no place in our society.
“I would ask anyone with information to bring it to the PSNI by calling officers on 101 and quoting incident reference number 1384 14/04/18.”
Unite Regional Officer Davy Thompson said: “Like every worker, those employed to provide public transport services have a legitimate expectation that when they go to work they will not be subjected to physical or sexual harassment. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
“In the latest case of abuse against a public transport worker, on Saturday last, a female conductor, and member of our union, was working on the Londonderry to Central Station service and was called to deal with concerns raised about the rowdy behaviour of a few passengers. A fellow member of staff had already confiscated alcohol from a group of male passengers and this was being held safely until they got off the train and as they were apparently unhappy with this a number of men saw fit to offer verbal abuse and to grab the female worker painfully, resulting in clear physical and sexual harassment.”
Mr Thompson added: “As the passengers exited the train at Mossley West they once again subjected the conductor, whose duties had her to stand at the exit doorway, to further unwanted contact and they became highly abusive in demanding that their alcohol be returned to them.
“The worker who was at the receiving end of this humiliating and violating treatment by these drunken thugs has been very badly shaken by the experience. She is providing the PSNI with a statement on the incident.
“The full weight of the law must come down on those responsible as a discouragement to others who think that this sort of behaviour is acceptable.”