A new report from Aslef calls for greater action on diversity for train driver roles.
Only 6.5% of train drivers in England, Scotland and Wales are women; just 8% are from an ethnic minority; and only 15% are under 35, according to an Aslef report.
The On Track with Diversity report was launched as part of a drive to increase diversity on the railways with suggestions being promoted including more flexible working.
The report says progress has been made by Aslef on flexible working since the 2012 report. For instance, it includes in its Charter a commitment to seek to negotiate part-time contracts with operators, such as job shares, where this is not at the expense of establishment numbers and it recognises “the importance of providing alternative work life balance opportunities”.
Recommendations include the need for train companies to provide better data on diversity and to look at the reasons for lack of diversity among train drivers, greater promotion of staff from other areas of the industry into train driving roles, greater use of positive role models in recruitment, more attention to bias in adverts, unconscious bias training, reverse mentoring, the creation of staff networks and the promotion of senior diversity champions.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “We believe that a train driver is a train driver is a train driver – regardless of gender, sexuality, religion, or race – and we’ve been pushing the companies to allow more part-time and flexible working because the lack of such agreements has been a barrier, in the past, to women coming into our industry as many still take on the primary responsibility for childcare.”
He pledged to work closely with rail companies to improve their recruitment policies.
He added: “Aslef has been at the forefront of promoting diversity in our industry, and we want to ensure that train drivers are more representative of the communities we serve.”