Public Transport Unions Call For National Day Of Respect
Release date: 9/11/2016
WA Today, by Amy Mitchell-Whittington, 8 November 2016
Rail, bus and tram commuters are being asked to say "thank you" to public transport workers out of respect for slain bus driver Manmeet Sharma.
Mr Sharma was set alight at a Moorooka bus stop on October 28 in a horrific attack that left his Punjabi community, work colleagues and the Brisbane community in shock.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union and Transport Workers Union have set up a National Day of Respect for Public Transport Workers on Wednesday and have asked the public to say thanks to those who provide services throughout the day.
RTBU National President Phil Altieri said Manmeet Sharma was a widely respected man in the Queensland transport industry who will be missed.
"Next Wednesday will be a day for all Australians to reflect on Manmeet's short but beautiful life, and also to reflect on the role all transport workers play in moving people around our cities and towns," he said.
TWU Queensland Secretary Peter Biagini said many workers had been left "reeling" by the tragedy.
"We know that so many proud public transport workers have been left reeling by this tragedy, and it's easy to think that it could have been them.
"Public transport workers and public transport customers have the right to feel safe when going about their daily business," he said.
Brisbane bus drivers were among those to pay respect to colleague Manmeet Sharma at a vigil at Moorooka in the days after the attack. Photo: Amy Mitchell-Whittington
"Safety and respect need to be paramount when people are using, or working, on public transport.
"Even the simple act of saying thank you to your driver can make a difference, and will be appreciated."
Slain bus driver Manmeet Sharma. Photo: Supplied
In the past financial year, 392 drivers and 18 passengers were allegedly assaulted across the south east Queensland bus network, according to TransLink.
In that same year, 156 alleged passenger and staff assaults were reported across the Gold Coast tram network.
A TransLink spokesperson said there were a number of measures in place to keep drivers and passengers safe including more than 700 CCTV cameras, private security guards and training for bus drivers to de-escalate violent behaviour.
The National Day of Respect for Public Transport Workers will be held on Wednesday 9 November 2016.
There will be short tribute to Manmeet Sharma and a minute's silence at the site of Manmeet's death in Moorooka, Brisbane, commencing at 11am.
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