TUC Black Workers’ Conference

01 May 2017

This year’s TUC Black Workers’ Conference, at Congress House from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 April, had the theme of ‘Mobilising black workers and communities’.


 FloydThe ASLEF delegation consisted of five members – Paul Patmore (D2); Surjeet Puee (D4); Khalid Nasim Rana (D5); Trevor Robinson (D8); and Floyd Doyle (D5) – plus Simon Weller, AGS, and Lee James, our equalities adviser.

Floyd Doyle - a driver with Great Northern, member of our Cambridge branch, and chair of ASLEF’s Black and Ethnic Minority Representative Committee who has been a member of the committee since it was set up 17 years ago –was invited to chair the conference. ‘A big honour,’ said Simon. ‘He’s the first ASLEF member to chair a TUC conference since Ray Buckton, GS from 1970 to 1987, back in the 1980s.’



This is what Floyd told delegates when he opened the conference:

‘In the transport industry where I work, millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money – our money – is being taken out as profit each year by the multinational companies that run the privatised rail franchises. These profits are not reinvested in the UK railway system – they are used to subsidise state-owned railways right across Europe. (…)


ASLEF delegation


‘I’ve been a member of ASLEF for more than 25 years, and I’m a founding member of our BEM committee, that started 17 years ago. Even after 17 years’ hard work we still have low numbers of BEM drivers in the rail industry. We can only recruit, as trade union members, the men and women employed by the train and freight operating companies. We have tried to work with the TOCs and FOCs to give them ideas on diversity recruitment but it is a slow road and the numbers of BEM drivers are nowhere near where they should be.




‘As a committee we’ve run campaigns like supporting members who refuse to drive trains that take racist and fascist groups to demonstrations organised by the English Defence League. We pushed and had motions passed at our annual assembly of delegates to acquire accommodation for members observing Ramadan. Because the fight for equality is deeply entrenched in ASLEF history; you only have to look at the historic court case expelling racists from our union.’


The topic of motions discussed at conference included tackling underemployment among BAME workers; Brexit and the rise in hate crime; challenging racism and hatred; inclusive casting in the entertainment industry; the visible impact of racism in education; bullying and harassment in the NHS; black mental health; rainbow racism; and prostate cancer awareness. The ASLEF motion, was moved by Trevor and seconded by Prospect. Trevor also spoke on challenging racism and hatred and Khalid spoke in favour of three motions, on Brexit and the rise in hate crime, underemployment among BAME workers, and bullying and harassment in the NHS. When he wasn’t trying to get pictures with the chair!



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