The Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railway company, has been accused of many things over the years but seldom of doing anything which protects either the rights of its passengers or workforce. In a recent press statement, however, the company admitted that it has been protecting its workers against attack and wrongful complaints for a number of years, and plans on expanding this protection from the national railway lines through to the regional sector.
Giving a reason for the extension, and for the press statement, figures highlighting violent attacks against people working for the railway company were also published. The Deutsche Bahn claims to have prosecuted more than eight hundred passengers during 2010 for assaults on its staff and now wishes, through the policy of identity, to cut this figure down and reduce the number of assaults.
The policy is very simple. Workers on national railway routes are allowed to give a false name when asked to identify themselves by passengers. They are allowed to wear a name badge with this false name printed on it and are not required to identify themselves any further. This policy, claims the Deutsche Bahn, of hiding the identity of a member of staff not only assists passengers but it will prevent further violent assaults in the future.
In truth the use of a false identity by a member of staff – whether it be with the Deutsche Bahn or any other company – merely cuts down on the number of complaints against staff which need to be actioned. A passenger complaining about incorrect information from a certain Michael Mouse will merely be told that such a person doesn’t work for the company, and the complaint is closed. The company profile is, by this action alone, improved since they can rightly announce fewer complaints needing to be handled by their staff. The idea that violent attacks against staff will be prevented by the potential attacker not knowing who he or she is about to hit hardly needs comment.