Rail aggression: staff unhappy about name badges

Belgium's train conductors are unhappy.  Starting 1 November they are supposed to wear a name badge stating their surname and the first letter of their given name.  Conductors now fear that angry passengers will try to interfere with their private life. 

The badges for rail staff are needed because starting Thursday the rail company will also be able to hand out nuisance fines!  A nuisance fine starts at 50 euros and rises to 500 euros in the worst cases.  By law the person recording the reasons for the fine has to be identifiable.

Trades unionist Gunther Blauwens: "Rail staff often experience aggression.  We now fear this will invade our private lives too. Passengers will be able to look us up online."

"In recent years passengers have become more assertive.  If there's a problem caused by delays we are the person they turn to.  The fact that passenger aggression rarely triggers a response is a problem.  It's very rare that there are prosecutions."

Police officers too wear a name badge.  There are exceptions though for some departments where a number badge is worn.  In this way people can still be identified.  Many rail staff see this as a better option.  The idea was put to the interior minister, Jan Jambon, but he was not enthusiastic. 

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