First part of a three-part report from the meeting of the Europen Transport Workers' Federation's Women's Committee in Berlin, 12-13 October 2015.
Women's health and safety at work
The Committee is compiling a training module about women's health and safety at work. It commissioned an 'expert' to draw up a plan for the session, which was presented to us at this meeting. However, there were several criticisms of it from Committee members, who felt that it: was too 'academic' in tone; did not include a key section on refusal to work on safety grounds; did not include key issues such as women's facilities, clothing and PPE; referred to the person delivering the training as a 'manager'(!); and separated physical health and stress to much too great a degree.
I have argued at previous meetings that it is preferable for the Committee to use its own expertise, and that of our rank-and-file members, in drawing up material, as we did with our VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN TRANSPORT WORKERS - IT'S NOT PART OF THE JOB posters (see below) rather than pay significant sums of money from a limited budget for work by external 'experts' who may not approach the work from a trade union perspective.
The training module will now be revised to incorporate Committee members' views.
Violence against women transport workers
This has been an unfunded campaign so far, so I have pressed for as much action as possible within that constraint.
Last year, we had an open invite to design and submit posters under the slogan VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN TRANSPORT WORKERS – IT’S NOT PART OF THE JOB. You can see the posters that were submitted here. RMT has printed the one designed by RMT members (Esme Bradbury, Becky Crocker and Janine Booth) and circulated it to all branches. Copies can be obtained for free from RMT head office.
The call for poster designs will be reissued, so new designs can be submitted – meanwhile, the current designs will be posted around European transport workplaces, and the Committee is keen to see photos of it in workplaces and reports of how it has been used to prompt debate and challenge attitudes.
The online survey of women transport workers’ experiences of violence at work that I proposed had not yet been set up, but the proposed schedule now is: October - draft circulated to Committee members; November – online survey launched; February – deadline for submissions; May – results presented at mid-term conference.
The three-woman Working Group on this campaign (including me) will be meeting in January to push this work further, including designing an additional to the training package about Violence Against Women.
ECI - Fair Transport
The European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) is running a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) called Fair Transport Europe.
An ECI is an European Union (EU) process by which, if you get 1,000,000 signatures from EU citizens on your proposals for legislative change, you get a formal meeting with the European Commission and the possibility of European Parliament action on your proposals.
The demands of the ECI are quite limited, it is couched in terminology about "fair competition" etc, and the ETF states that it "is not a protest movement". But it does include demands to strengthen workers' rights when transferred between employers, trade union recognition, stopping abuse of migrant workers to undercut wages, ending zero-hours contracts and bogus self-employment etc. It is a move to campaign for cross-Europe transport workers' rights.
So please sign and share!