Two rail staff beaten by youths in West Auckland are due back at work today, but another attacked in a separate "train-surfing" incident faces weeks recovering from a broken jaw.
The Rail and Martime Transport Union, which is due to meet train company Transdev today to seek better protection for its members, says he is likely to be off work for about four weeks.
Although the man is a fitter employed by Government-owned KiwiRail, he had been repairing a train operated by Transdev when attacked at Avondale a week ago.
Union organiser Stuart Johnstone said the man had been helping a Transdev staff member, who was also attacked but escaped relatively injured, after pulling back into the train a disgruntled passenger who had jumped on the outside of it as it was being driven back to a depot.
"He was trying to stop this guy from train-surfing on the outside of a train, and he ended up with a fractured jaw for his troubles," Mr Johnstone said.
A 20-year-old Avondale man has appeared in court charged with wounding the KiwiRail worker with intent, assaulting the Transdev employee, and damaging an on-board fire extinguisher.
Police have also referred to their youth aid section a group of five young males, aged 13 and 14, after attacks on two other Transdev staff at the Ranui and Swanson stations on Saturday.
They said a 45-year-old man, who Transdev has confirmed suffered a fractured eye socket, was attacked by a group of six youngsters at Ranui at about midday.
A Waitemata district police spokeswoman said another rail staffer, 48, was punched and kicked by four of the youths after they returned to Swanson station later in the afternoon to catch a train back to Ranui.
Mr Johnstone said the first victim was a train manager who he understood had tried to stop some of youths from opening a door of his train as it was about to pull out of Ranui Station, both for their safety and that of fellow passengers.
He welcomed as "very positive" a statement by Transdev managing director Terry Scott that the company was taking legal advice about possible civil action against offenders, separate to criminal proceedings.
"So people on the network are being made accountable for their actions," he said.
"Quite frankly, our members are sick of the little bastards on the network - they are very frustrated. They are not security guards, they are not police officers, they go to work each day to do their job and are put in very difficult situations that concern the safety of a lot of people and have to make very quick decisions."
Transdev customer service improvement manager Brooke Donovan said the company expected a very constructive discussion with the union this morning.
"We work with the RMTU [union] continually to ensure the best possible work environment for our staff and the best possible experience for our customers," she said.
"We share their concerns about the anti-social and violent behaviour of some people in our community."
But Auckland Council infrastructure committee chairman Mike Lee said rail staff had raised concerns about safety previously, only to have those fall "on deaf ears."
"Transdev needs to lift its game, not only for the safety of it staff but also for the safety of his passengers," he said last night.
Mr Lee said a union delegate who outlined security concerns to his former council transport committee in 2011 was put on a disciplinary charge for his efforts.
- additional reporting APNZ