Young Members

27 November 2017

TUC Young Workers’ Month – held in November every year – helps promote trade unions and highlights the issues young workers face in the 21st century. 


Until this year ASLEF had not organised around young members but, in January, our Young Members’ Forum was convened with one member, aged 35 or under, from each of our eight districts to examine the barriers young people face in becoming activists in the union, to provide support and encouragement to our young members to step forward, to develop strategies to promote the recruitment of younger men and women into the driving grade, and to engage in young member structures in the wider trade union movement.


To kick start this work the forum sent out a survey to all young ASLEF members. Of those who responded 77% had been a driver for between one and four years so were very new to the grade and 58% felt they had been offered opportunities to become actively involved in the union and its structures. The Young Members’ Forum is now looking at initiatives to encourage activism. Young members’ campaigning priorities, the survey revealed, include the protection of terms & conditions, getting a good work/life balance, and securing decent pensions. The results received from this survey have formed the basis of a work plan for the forum throughout 2018.


Arguably the most exciting development is the first ASLEF Young Members’ conference on Tuesday 28 November, at the ITF in London, where 60 young men and women will come together to talk and listen to speakers including Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary; Danielle Rowley, MP for Midlothian, and the youngest Labour Member of Parliament; Tom Holliday, who organised the McStrike in Cambridge; and Craig Dawson, chair of the TUC’s Young Workers’ Forum, who, in turn, will have a chance to learn about the structure and functions of ASLEF and what our young members think.


Mick said: ‘We’re pleased that we have been able to announce, with Virgin, the rail industry’s first driver apprenticeship scheme and are now looking for other opportunities to develop schemes to bring young drivers into our industry and young members into our union.’



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