ASLEF's on track for a diverse and modern railway

26 June 2019

July 2019


We have only just returned from the most diverse AAD we've had in our 139 year history but there is still a long way to go before the employers have systems in place that encourage proper career mapping and are truly reflective of the communities in which we live and work.


In 2012 we published the first On Track with Diversity report which revealed the rail industry to have very low numbers of  women, young, and black and minority ethnic drivers. We used that report to hit every HR director's desk and say, 'We have membership density in this industry in the very high nineties but can only recruit as members the drivers you employ.'


The situation was compounded by the McNulty Report and a Tory government which tried to blame the unions for the lack of diversity on the grounds of 'flexibility' – the same government which, when asked by us to introduce an equalities impact assessment before awarding a franchise, refused. Two decades of campaigning for job shares, flexible working, pre-retirement links, and reduced hours working, in the years before part-time working attracted pro-rata rights to leave and  pension, have all been conveniently ignored.


We launched an updated version, On Track with Diversity 2019, at the Palace of Westminster on 17 June, calling on employers (not all are bad) to work with us to create more opportunities to build a workforce which better represents the communities we serve. To those companies who refuse to respond we will be asking what you have to hide.


Are you playing Conservative Bingo? Who's going to be the next Tory leader, and unelected Prime Minister, with 13 initially out of the traps, including old union-hating, union-baiting Boris Johnson, the worst London Mayor and Foreign Secretary we've ever had, with spectacular integrity and moral issues. Only two candidates, of course, go to members of Conservative constituency associations.


Not one of them has pledged to reduce poverty, food bank usage, or the widening wealth gap; increase benefits and the  minimum wage; scrap tuition fees or the public sector pay gap, rehome the victims of Grenfell, or protect those in Britain's core industries which are now under threat. Instead we hear about tax cuts for the rich. Whoever wins should be obliged to call an immediate general election to allow real life and death issues to be discussed for a better future for this once great nation.


Yours fraternally,


Mick Whelan

General Secretary

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