People's Vote march protestor told to 'grow up and respect democracy' by rail staff wins apology
PUBLISHED: 16:25 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:46 01 April 2019
A campaigner told by staff at a major UK rail firm to “grow up and respect democracy” as she headed for the People’s Vote march has won an apology.
The woman, who has asked only to be referred to as Katie for fear of pro-Brexit trolls, said she felt “intimidated” a man wearing a Greater Anglia hi-vis jacket followed her as she got off a rail replacement bus service.
The man and one of his colleagues had seen Katie, who had travelled to the march from Ipswich, Suffolk, collect her placard from the luggage compartment underneath the coach once it had reached its destination at Newbury Park, London.
“Unprompted by me, one was shaking his head and one aggressively said to me something about ‘ignoring 17million people’ (referring to the number of people that voted leave in the referendum),” she said in a complaint to Greater Anglia’s customer relations department of the incident on Saturday, March 23.
“I began walking away and one of the men actually followed me and shouted: ‘You need to grow up and respect democracy.’
“I am a 29-year-old woman and was with two friends of mine, both 29 and both female, and we were all made to feel very vulnerable and intimidated by this unwarranted harassment from your staff, particularly as young women experiencing this from two older men.
“I should be allowed to travel on your service regardless of my views without being subjected to this kind of vitriol.”
She said she “just wanted to get away from them as quickly as possible” as the incident made her feel “extremely uneasy”.
A Greater Anglia customer relations advisor replied: “I am sorry that you have had cause to contact us and complain about your recent experience. I have now logged this and can only apologise that you were spoken to in such a manner by a member of our staff.
“We expect all our staff to be helpful and courteous at all times, especially when dealing with customers, and I am sorry you found this was not the case on this occasion.
“Please be assured that the details of your complaint have been passed on to the managers responsible.
“They will take the appropriate follow-up action and where necessary arrange for additional customer service training to be given to the individual concerned.”
The customer relations advisor said the action taken would have to remain confidential.
Katie, who lives in Ipswich, added: “I felt really intimidated. We were saying afterwards that it wouldn’t have happened if we were older and if we were two men. It left us with a bad feeling.
“I just think it’s indicative of how divisive the issue has got.
“That was one of about three or four comments we got on the way to the march. I think it’s a sign that it’s getting quite tribal and that it’s a very emotive issue.”
A Greater Anglia spokesman said: “We want all customers to have a good experience while travelling with us.
“We expect all our staff to be helpful and courteous at all times.
“We are investigating the complaint and will take any appropriate follow-up action and, if necessary, arrange for additional customer service training.”
The spokesman added that Greater Anglia was in communication with Katie and would respond directly to her.