Female rail workers. Source: Women in Rail

Agreement opens the way for the equal presence of women in rail

Source: Women in Rail

A provisional agreement between the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) makes rail more accessible to women. On 30 June, CER and ETF came to a common understanding regarding the job opportunities of women in rail and the environment in which they work.

“This agreement is a milestone because the European social partners in the rail sector give a clear sign that they understood the challenges and want to change, to make the industry fit for women to work in. Without women, the rail sector has no future,” commented Giorgio Tutti, vice-president of the EU sectoral social dialogue for railways.

The parties involved went through seven rounds of negotiations until reaching the first phase of the agreement. However, nothing is officially valid yet, since CER and EFT need to put all the verbal discussions on paper and later vote for them during September and October.

More women, equal conditions

This agreement aims to attract more women to the rail industry and create the right working conditions for them. In a sector dominated by men, it is about time that women get equal treatment, equal pay and career opportunities. Moreover, the agreement targets a better work-private life demarcation for women, which is essential, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy balance between career and family.

Most importantly, CER and EFT want to create a working environment for women where sexism and sexual harassment will cease to exist, and women will have the safety they need to thrive. All parties involved agreed that reaching consensus in such a matter is a milestone for an equal sector and society. The fact that this consensus comes during the European Year of Rail gives a more symbolic layer to the journey of equal opportunities in rail.

Watch the interview

Curious about taking a look at the life of women working in rail? You can watch the video interview below, featuring Heather Waugh, Scotland’s only female freight train driver.

Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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