Equalities Weekend School 2019

28 October 2019

The second ASLEF Equalities Weekend School was held in October in Birmingham.


Delegates came from branches across the country to learn and share together on issues relating to equality and diversity in the train driving grade.



We were joined by Tracy Douthwaite from Happy Life for a workshop on mental health, and Dr Jay Stewart, Founder of Gendered Intelligence, for a workshop on gender identity and trans experiences.



We also discussed social media, language and how to make sue our workplaces are welcoming and diverse with a panel representing ASLEF's BAME, women's, LGBT+ and young members representative committees.


Sherelle Cadogan, Morden Branch, wrote about her experience of the weekend: 


I attended the ASLEF equalities weekend school and had such a fantastic learning experience. I met epresentatives from all districts and it was great to see my ASLEF colleagues committing to making the union more inclusive and representative of the communities in which we work. 



Sessions included in the weekend were the Mental Health workshop which highlighted how many of us are affected by mental health issues, and gave us tools in how to spot and support our colleagues. Members of the equalities committies gave a powerful presentation focussing on the type of language we use. It highlighted the hurt that can be caused if we are not respectful to each other and compounded what a great campaign Mind the Gag is, reminding us of our pledge to be mindful of what we say.


We also had a Trans awareness session from Gendered Intelligence which gave me an insight into what people within the trans community have to deal with and how they feel. Accepting people who are different to us is so important and can only be a benefit to our union moving forward.


The weekend ended with the general secretary Mick Whelan declaring how important it is to him that EVERY member feels included and more importantly represented in ASLEF. With an open discussion about how we can go back to our branches and empower ALL members to become active participants in the union.


As an equality rep I left much clearer of my role, with the full support of the equalities committee representatives and our general secretary.


An inclusive union is a union for the future.

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