Blood sprayed across the ticket hall floor
Capes caught and torn in moving rails
Horns and scales and devils’ tails
Make-up smudged some hours before
Biting, fighting, broken jaw
Cuts and slashes, tears and gashes
Blades and bottles, glints and flashes
Of steel, red handprint on the door
Claws and punches, noses broken
Howls and screams and curses spoken
Public transport - publicly-owned and -accountable, democratically run by workers and passengers, affordable, accessible, safe, efficient, environmentally-friendly ... cor, that'd be good, wouldn't it?!
Blood sprayed across the ticket hall floor
- France - Women trade unionists have been concentrating on increasing women's involvement in the unions, and on campaigning against violence against women. At Gare du Nord railway station, African women cleaners are often sexually assaulted by male bosses. Some men say that it does not matter, that women are making it up, or that they 'have a chip on their shoulder'.
- Italy - There is very good legislation on women's rights - for example on maternity - but the economic and cultural situation means that women are still disadvantaged. Italy has the lowest rate of women's employment in Europe, and needs investment in public services and industries to create jobs for women. As the government cuts welfare services, it relies on women to act as unpaid carers.
- Belgium - In the Port of Antwerp, an agreement has been signed by the union and the employer regarding women's employment on the docks. this emphasises equal recruitment policies rather than quotas. But the employers need challenging to ensure that they abide by the agreement.
- Netherlands - Some men - even some union men - say that women who work on the docks are taking men's jobs. And they say that if you do a 'man's job' then you must go along with 'men's humour' ie. sexist banter. As a minority, women are abused, whether through 'jokes' or touching. The solution is not new laws but the enforcement of existing laws, but the Inspectorate is understaffed. Migrant women workers are taken on in jobs with only a few hours work, and then told that they must give sexual favours to get more work. Women are not confident to complain about abuse, so the union is using organisers from other countries to speak to women in their own language.
- UK - I reported on the ScotRail victory and ongoing fight to defend guards' jobs; the abuse of women cleaners; the impact of ticket office clsures and de-staffing of stations.
- Many countries - A recurring theme in reports from the various countries is that European Union legislation is useful, but that it needs to be monitored and implemented, with sanctions against companies that do not abdie by gender equality policies. Employers find ways around legislation, so legislation is not enough.
Jean-Louis Colson (on the right of the photo) from DG-MOVE - the European Commission's Directorate General on transport - outlined the Commission's work on women and transport, and the consultation it is currently running.
For the Commission, the main 'challenge' is that not enough women work in transport. Only 22% of transport workers are women, across all 28 EU member stations (the Commission's document states that "22% of women work in the transport sector" but this is incorrect; the statistic is as I give it here). It is even more unbalanced in certain transport sectors: road and rail workforces are only 14% women; air transport is a bit better, with 38% women. Jobs within transport are also unbalanced: in the rail industry, 60% of human resources staff are women, but only 3% of drivers.
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1. Disabled People Against Cuts held a week of action to coincide with the Paralympic Games. During the week, DPAC attended our Southern Rail picket line. Disabled campaigners have compiled a report alleging that Southern's plans to remove guards breach the Equality Act in making its services less accessible to disabled passengers.
... with a nod to W.H.Auden's The Night Train ...
Election of co-Chair: Sean McGovern, the Disabled Workers' representative on TUC General Council, chairs the Committee. I was re-elected unopposed as co-Chair for another year.
Action on Resolutions from Disabled Workers Conference
Based on a true incident ...
Paula was tired from a day out protesting
Paula was on her way home, needed resting
She slumped on the train and
She winced against pain and
She thought, "Days like this one are testing"
I am a railway woman, love my job
I take you there and back, I take your fare
Sometimes behind the scenes, sometimes you’ll see me
I fix the track or operate the signal
I clean the station, guard or drive the train
And when you need me, here I am to help.