This puts public transport employees on the same level as police officers and prison guards. The law has been changed to reflect a recent increase in attacks against public transport workers.
At present, anyone who attacks a police officer or prison guard can be jailed for up to six months but this has been increased by up to two years by an amendment to the Criminal Code.
According to the head of the ÖBB Workers Council and trade unionist Roman Hebenstreit, a public transport worker is attacked every second day. Train attendants were attacked 164 times in 2016. There has also been a rise in attacks against employees of the Vienna transport company, Wiener Linien.
The amendment to the law “gives a clear signal”, Transport Minister Jörg Leichtfried said, adding that “violence against public transport staff is not a cavalier offence”.
Justice Minister Wolfgang Brandstetter also welcomed the changes, saying that violence must be “consistently combated”.
Deliberately bumping into, kicking, or throwing objects at a public transport employee will all be considered an offence – regardless of whether the victim is injured.