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Union fury over underground spies

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17:01 CET+01:00
The site of agile youngsters leaping over the barriers at Stockholm's underground stations will soon be a thing of the past, if Connex, which employs the ticket inspectors, has anything to do with it.

But staff at the company aren't happy with the introduction of "barrier spies", plain-clothes supervisors whose job will be to check that the inspectors are actually stopping fare-dodgers. Apparently one tactic will be to "act like passengers trying to jump the barriers", said Svenska Dagbladet.

Connex said this is a way of "promoting what's right and preventing what's wrong". Ticket inspectors doing a good job will be rewarded, "perhaps with a meal in a restaurant".

But the spied-upon inspectors say that the approach will just make queues longer as they will be forced to stop increasing numbers of passengers, and that it will be the "the decent commuters who bear the brunt of it".

Everyone going through the barriers will have to get used to handing their travelcard over for a "thorough inspection" in the future, confirmed SvD.

The union is of a different opinion: "If we want to get the fare dodgers it is better to change the barriers instead of spying on our own members of staff", said Gunnar Öhman, Chairman of Seko Club 20, the official union for barrier and security guards.

The union is planning legal action to stop the new methods. They have contacted the Work Environment Agency to complain about "derogatory actions" and they're afraid that those who fail to spot fare dodgers might risk losing their jobs.

Fare evasion cost Storstockholms Lokaltrafik, the Stockholm transport network, 160 million kronor last year, according to SVD.

Thursday to Saturday could be a free for all on the underground as 50 employees have decided to go on strike against the new policy. They will be protesting against the "failing employment politics and a lack of standards in their conditions of employment".

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet

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