Women in Rail – EU level negotiations between social partners – 3 out of 7 negotiation rounds have taken place

9 Jun 2021

On 7 June, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), representing railway sector employers, and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), representing employees, finalized the 3rd round of negotiations at EU level for a binding agreement aimed at promoting employment of women in the sector.

At this stage of the negotiations, there have been positive signals from both CER and ETF, showing a good basis for further talks. Railway companies and trade unions are convinced that the negotiations are very valuable and that joint efforts are needed to change the current situation in order to attract more women to the railway sector and to promote diversity in the workplace and adapt the railway sector to society.

In the negotiation rounds that have taken place so far, discussions focused on the main issues of general measures to attract women and to keep them in the organization, to promote career development, the importance of reconciliation of working and private life e.g. flexible work arrangements, maternity paternity/parental and care leaves, the implementation of a gender perspective in prevention policy on health and safety at work as well as dignity in the workplace – fighting sexual harassment and sexism.

The President of the EU Sectoral Social Dialogue for Railways, Matthias Rohrmann, said: “There is progress and first initial agreements in terms of content. Even if there are unmistakably difficult points and differences in terms of content, the overall development of the WiR negotiations is positive. We want and hope for a result at the end of June. The purely virtual negotiations are a completely new experience and challenge for both sides. Nevertheless, thanks to the ETF / CER drafting group and the very good preparatory work of the entire CER WiR delegation, we are on the right track”.

Member of the CER delegation and drafting group, Claudia Kürzl,” Based on my involvement in the CER/ETF WIR drafting group, I can confirm the positive development. Both sides have shown willingness to make good compromises and the issue of women’s advancement has a very high priority for the railway sector. There is a common will to therefore reach a good result, even if the really difficult issues are still ahead of us.

 The Vice-President of the EU Sectoral Social Dialogue for Railways, Giorgio Tuti, said: “I can confirm that the two social partners are working in the right spirit to achieve our common goal of making the rail sector more attractive and equal for women. We have now finished 3 out of 7 negotiation rounds and still have challenging topics to agree on like equal pay and targets for women’s participation.”

The Vice-President of the ETF Railway Section, Maria Cristina Marzola, said: “After three rounds of negotiations, we finally see some progress although we still have a long way to go. We were able to agree on several principles concerning gender issues and found compromises on some measures that put us on the right track to  achieving significant change for women.”