CALLS have been made to extend an act of law to help beleaguered transport workers who suffer from anti-social behaviour.

The calls come in the wake of recent trouble at local rail services and at train stations in Dumbartonshire.

Now Dumbarton and the Vale MSP Jackie Baillie is spearheading a campaign to ensure that the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005 is widened to protect transport workers.

She is also calling for the British Transport Police to be given powers to ban troublemakers from train stations, something which already exists in England and Wales.

Ms Baillie met the Transport Minister Humza Yosaf in Edinburgh last week alongside representatives from Helensburgh Community Council and the trade unions to demand tough new measures in law to minimise the risk of similar problems in future.

And during the meeting Mr Yousaf confirmed that the Scottish Government will review the legislation.

The moves follow a summer of disruption on local trains and services, when incidents of anti-social behaviour have hit the headlines.

However, the crackdown on anti-social behaviour has been hailed as a success by Ms Baillie.

The Scottish Labour MSP has chaired three multi-agency meetings with representatives from Helensburgh Community Council, Police Scotland, British Transport Police, Social Work, Scotrail, ASLEF and RMT.

The first meeting was held on August 15 after a string of violence and threatening behaviour pushed Scotrail workers to the brink of strike action.

And a union official told the Reporter that a train via Dumbarton was cancelled on Tuesday, August 29, after a driver booked off sick due to stress resulting from the anti-social behaviour experienced in recent weeks.

Last week the meeting heard from police that there had been no recent incidents in local stations or on board trains in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh.

Social work managers from West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh confirmed that staff had made good progress in working with a small group of vulnerable young people.

Ms Baillie said: “There has been an enormous improvement over the past few weeks thanks to the work of the police, social services, trade unions and Scotrail.

“I called the first meeting as an emergency because tensions were running high and the situation at local train stations was reaching a tipping point.

“Staff and passengers were being attacked or abused on an almost nightly basis and Scotrail workers were on the verge of walking out to protect their own safety.

“We all need to remain vigilant to ensure that any similar problems in future are dealt with swiftly and that the authorities have the powers they need to protect staff and passengers.”

Jim Gray, Scotrail co-ordinator at RMT said: “RMT welcome the efforts of all involved in the multi agency approach and reduction in incidents.

“We will continue to press the Scottish Government to include transport workers in the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005.”