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Rail union Aslef launches 'On Track with Diversity' report at Houses of Parliament

Train drivers’ union Aslef launched its On Track with Diversity report at the Houses of Parliament on Monday, as it looks to increase the number of female, BAME and younger train drivers employed within the industry.

Current statistics gathered by Aslef show that just 6.5% of train drivers in England, Wales and Scotland were women, 8% were from a minority ethnic background and 15% were under 35 years old.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan explained that the trade union is absolutely committed to equality and diversity, but is limited by the lack of drivers from these backgrounds working in the industry.

He said: “We can only recruit, as members, those who have been employed as drivers by the privatised train and freight operating companies.

“We work with these companies, every day of every week, to ensure they encourage women, as well as men, and black and minority ethnic, as well as white, people to become drivers.”

READ MORE: Why the rail industry needs more women

READ MORE: More than four in five women have never considered work in the rail industry

With the On Track with Diversity report, Aslef is looking to narrow these discrepancies between the demographics of its drivers and those of the community that they serve, creating a more representative workforce.

Since its last On Track with Diversity report was published back in 2012, Mr Whelan believes that there has been a “cultural shift” of sorts, and progress has been made.

Train drivers now have one of the smallest wage gaps between men and women of any UK occupation, with the gap standing at 0.7% compared with the 18.4% national overall figure (based on mean hourly earnings, excluding overtime). The statistics do include both full-time and part-time workers, which is where Aslef says their small wage gap emerges from.

Mr Whelan still believes more can be done by the industry, and with Aslef, as a trade union, representing 96% of all train drivers in England, Scotland and Wales, its campaign could hold significant weight regarding future policy.

The 2019 On Track with Diversity report was commissioned from the Institute of Employment Rights, and can be read in full here.


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