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European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF). Janine Booth, March 2014. Women’s Committee. ETF and its Women’s Committee. Transport trade unions from across Europe UK affiliates include RMT, TSSA, ASLEF, Unite, Nautilus and others

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European transport workers federation etf

European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF)

Janine Booth, March 2014

Women’s Committee

Etf and its women s committee
ETFand its Women’s Committee

  • Transport trade unions from across Europe

  • UK affiliates include RMT, TSSA, ASLEF, Unite, Nautilus and others

  • Campaigns on issues such as the EU Rail Packages (privatisation)

  • Women’s Committee elected at Women’s Conference every four years (2013-2017)

  • Meets twice per year

    • last meeting in Helsinki in September 2013

    • next in Brussels 19-20 March 2014

  • For the first time, RMT now has a nominee on the Committee

Etf women s conference 2013
ETF Women’s Conference 2013

  • May 2013, Berlin

  • The work of the previous four years

    • Country visits

    • Economic crisis

    • Training package – now available

    • ETF Urban Transport Committee project on women’s employment

Work plan 2013 2017
Work plan 2013-2017

  • Workplace violence

  • Women’s health and safety at work

  • Recruitment and promotion of women in trade unions

  • Women and the economic crisis

Workplace violence
Workplace Violence

We need to change the culture that violence at work is part of the job.

It’s none of my business.

It’s totally unacceptable.

Sexual harassment/ assault:

You should take it as a compliment.

It’s totally unacceptable.

Workplace violence what are we going to do about it
Workplace violence: what are we going to do about it?

  • 25 November: annual day for the elimination of violence against women and girls

  • Collate good practice – and bad practice!

  • Guidance and ETF policy

  • Highlight impact of austerity measures on levels of violence

  • Poster – ‘Violence and abuse against women transport workers – it’s not part of the job’

  • Working group: Janine, Ekaterina, Brigitta

Women s health and safety at work
Women’s health and safety at work

  • Concern: women’s health and safety issues often overlooked because women are more likely to work in jobs with less obvious physical dangers

  • Workplace stress and bullying

  • Develop training module on women’s health and safety

  • Working group set up

  • What issues would you like to see included?

Women in trade unions
Women in trade unions

  • country visits

  • meetings with women in workplaces

  • meeting with union executives and women reps

  • ‘Women: Making Unions Stronger’

  • ‘A Woman’s Place is in her Union’

  • training package

    • designed to be used in different settings

    • formal as well as informal

Too many women – good, strong women – are lost to the trade union movement by discrimination.

Progress in women s representation
Progress in women’s representation

  • ETUC has its first female General Secretary

  • Half the ETF Rail and Road Section Executives are women

  • 8 out of 14 members of ver.di Executive are women

  • Some unions have reserved seats or quotas to ensure women’s representation

  • How does RMT compare? 

Women and the economic crisis
Women and the economic crisis

  • ILO: 2008-2011


One in seven transport workers were women.

three-quarters of transport jobs lost were women’s jobs

Women and the economic crisis1
Women and the economic crisis

  • Precarious work / casualisation

    • Women concentrated in jobs that are insecure, temporary, part-time, low-paid

    • Known in Germany as ‘mini-jobs’, “based on the prejudice that when women have children, they return to the home and only work for pocket money”

  • Arguing for a set of demands to defend women transport workers eg.

    • Defend public services – reverse privatisation and contracting-out

    • End low pay – make the minimum wage a living wage

    • Childcare

Women migrant workers
Women migrant workers

  • Women migrating across Europe, working in transport

  • Often in most low-paid, insecure, super-exploited jobs eg. contract cleaning

  • ETF and unions should work hard to recruit and organise these workers

  • Exciting possibilities for international solidarity eg.Bulgarian trade unionists - ‘We support RMT London Underground cleaners!’

  • Through ETF, can arrange for women trade unionists from these countries to visit UK and help RMT communicate with and organise migrant workers

  • Has been proposed to RMT Executive, but decision deferred

Finland women s employment
Finland: women’s employment

  • Women’s employment rate = 68.2%

    • higher than the EU average

  • Casualisation and part-time work is increasing

  • Service sector is growing

    • -> women’s jobs not hit as hard by the economic crisis as men’s jobs

  • Over the age of 40, women’s employment is higher than men’s

  • Unemployment -> growth of ‘shadow economy’

Finland limited progress for women
Finland: limited progress for women

  • 1966-70: committee on women’s position in society

  • Full-time childcare -> increase in women’s employment

  • Equal pay legislation 1962: pay still unequal

  • More women paid less than 1800 euros per month than men paid less than 2000 euros per month

Finland gender segregation in transport
Finland: gender segregation in transport

  • Service sector mainly women

  • Industrial sector mainly men

Finland gender segregation in transport1
Finland: gender segregation in transport

Finland gender pay gap
Finland: gender pay gap

  • 7% of women in supervisory posts

  • 25% of men

  • Even disregarding sector and supervisory position, there is still a pay gap of 8% between men and women

Finland sexism at work
Finland: sexism at work

  • Men receive more workplace training than women do

  • Employers will not hire women because they don’t have facilities eg. changing rooms

  • Regular sexist comments at work

  • Raising equality issues is seen as ‘trouble making’

  • Violence and verbal abuse against women transport workers

  • Law requires all companies to have an equality plan and employer/employee committee

Men workers often oppose women working there, and the public companies are not doing enough to challenge sexism and gender segregation.

Finland privatising public transport
Finland: privatising public transport

  • All public sector companies, including transport, are being sold

  • Largest party in the parliament is the National Coalition (equivalent of Conservative Party in the UK)

  • Green Party also part of the government – holds position of Transport Minister, privatising state-owned transport companies

  • Helsinki Metro to go ‘driverless’ next year: lessons from the unions’ failure to stop this

The gender pay gap across e urope
The gender pay gap across Europe

It is – or at least it should be – shocking that such inequality still exists.

  • ETUC ‘Bargaining for Equality’ project

  • Gender pay gap (gross hourly earnings) across Europe:

    • 2007: 17.6%

    • 2011: 16.2%

  • Gap in take-home pay will be even higher

  • Gender pay gap narrowing, but

    • Not nearly fast enough

    • Partly due to fall in men’s incomes

  • We want to close the gap through levelling-up not levelling-down!

Gender pay gap why
Gender pay gap – why?

  • straightforward discrimination (10-15%)

  • bargaining coverage

  • unequal balance of work and family

  • women’s over-representation in part-time, temporary, casual, low-paid jobs

  • workplace segregation: ‘women’s jobs’ paid less

  • gender socialisation

  • ‘glass ceiling’

  • level of legal minimum wage

  • overall level of gender equality in society

  • overall level of pay inequality in society

Gender pay gap what are we going to do about it
Gender pay gap – what are we going to do about it?

  • Demand and compile information

  • Assess pay claims and pay offers for impact on gender pay gap

  • Oppose performance-related pay and reliance on overtime

  • Flat-rate pay increases

  • Childcare / work-life balance provision

  • Example: London Underground station staff

Equal pay day
Equal Pay Day

7 November 2013

  • The day on which women in the UK effectively work for nothing for the rest of the year due to the gender pay gap

Where do we go from here
Where do we go from here?

  • look at how RMT can use the ETF Women’s Committee training package

  • consider information on what strategies different European unions use to encourage women’s participation and ask women members’ views on these

  • consider arranging a visit by Bulgarian women trade unionists

  • use strategies to tackle the gender pay gap

  • use and circulate ETF (and ITF) materials

  • What more would you like the union to do?

  • How would you like to get involved?

Keep in touch
Keep in touch

  • Reports and information:

  • ETF website: www.itfglobal/etf/women.cfm

  • Contact Janine:


    • 07957-217639

    • @JanineBooth