Britain's gender pay gap - train drivers are the best of British

04 April 2018

New figures are set to show that the job with the smallest gap in wages between men and women working in any occupation in the UK is that of driving trains. Statistics being compiled by the Government Equalities Office will reveal that while the overall gender pay in Britain is 18.4%, for train drivers it is just 0.7%.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: ‘I am delighted that train drivers have the lowest gender pay gap of any job in the UK because ASLEF has been at the forefront of promoting diversity in our industry, working hard to encourage train companies to ensure that train drivers are more representative of the communities they serve.

‘As a trade union, we can only recruit as members people who have been selected, and trained, to work as drivers by the train and freight operating companies. But we work with these companies, every day of every week, to ensure they encourage women, as well as men, to become train drivers.’

Mick added: ‘Train drivers are highly unionised and covered and protected by strong collective bargaining agreements – factors which have helped deliver this success story. However, while this news is welcome, we know the rail industry needs to do more to improve its recruitment policies and we will work with the FOCs and TOCs to make sure this happens.’

Note: Although nobody has to belong to a trade union, 96% of train drivers in Britain choose to be members of ASLEF. We have 19,661 members; 6.5% of whom are women.

The 0.7% gap between what men and women earn on the railway is because more women than men work part-time.

Organisations with 250 or more employees have to report their gender pay gaps – the difference between what men and women are paid – to the Government Equalities Office by midnight tonight [4 April].

Equal pay is the right in Britain for men and women to be paid the same for doing the same, or equivalent, work. It has been part of sex discrimination law for more than 40 years, and was enshrined in the Equality Act 2010. But a significant pay difference still exists in many industries.

There are no sanctions against companies which pay men more than women for doing the same job. Firms which are named and shamed – they have to publish their gender pay gap on their website as well as reporting it to the GEO – will be able to carry on after the bad headlines.

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