Get ahead - get a Learning Agreement

19 October 2006

Rail Union Learning (RUL) has now signed Learning Agreements with 9 rail companies - and it is targeting others in an effort to make learning easy and accessible to all ASLEF members. At the moment there are agreements with Southern, DLR, South Eastern Trains, Metro net, Scot Rail, London Underground, Midland Mainline, South West Trains, and MerseyRail Electric.


Companies signing a learning agreement commit themselves to recognising (and allowing time off for) workers' representatives who will organise and champion learning - Rail Union Learning Representatives (RULRs). These people know what learning opportunities are available and can suggest appropriate courses for members. 


Teresa Williams, the Development Worker advising on these agreements, explains, 'They have many common features, although they are individually negotiated by Company Councils and full-time Officers. One important thing is that they commit both sides to confidentiality for members who may be afraid that gaps in their knowledge could jeopardize their job. ASLEF is also pushing for agreements stating that workers have paid time off for learners of numeracy and literacy - 'Skills for Life'.'


Teresa welcomes union members putting pressure on employers to sign up to Union Learning. 'It is always useful to establish that there is a demand for courses - it just means talking to your work colleagues. Also, raise the issue at branch meetings and ask your Company Council members if they are trying to negotiate a Learning Agreement.'


For more information about Rail Union Learning contact ASLEF's Union Learning Officer Shirley McCrory at union headquarters or on her email which is To find out more about Learning Agreements contact Theresa Williams at

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