Report on the 2016 RMT Women's Conference

March 29, 2016

There were just over 50 RMT Members who attended the Conference this year.

This was another well attended Conference with 5 speakers on various subjects and 4 main reports from the RMT Women’s Advisory, TUC Women’s, STUC and European Transport Federation Committees.

The Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch was in attendance today. He gave a talk on the current events around the country and the Membership of Women which to date is 14% of the RMT averaging 11,500.

We also welcomed Kathy Mazur who is a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to our conference. A written report was received from the Equal Rights Sub-Committee which came from the resolutions put to the NEC. Please see review below:

There were four resolutions carried at last year’s conference

  • Female Carers

 This was the first to be sent to the AGM 2015 where it was passed unanimously.

‘We instruct the General Secretary to write to employers about flexible working arrangements and carer responsibilities in line with the sentiments of the AGM decision.’ This has been carried out.

  • Support Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women (KMEWO)

This resolution was the first to be referred directly to the NEC. The following actions are being carried out by the NEC on the 1st June 2015:

‘That we agree with the sentiments and instruct the General Secretary to write to the TUC seeking their opinion regarding the situation.’

The reply was put back to the NEC in September 2015. The TUC informed us that they had no plans to visit the region due to the internal problems within the Kurdish Trade Union Movement. However there had been discussion about the possibility of financial support to promote women’s involvement.

Contact was made with KMEWO by the RMT in the stance of a support letter which was received on 24 November 2015 with much appreciation from the Director and the KMEWO Domestic Abuse Service’s Development Manager.

  • Sexual Assault Against Women Passengers

This was the second resolution sent onto the RMT AGM from last year’s Women’s Conference where it was once again passed unanimously.

RMT continues to carry out numerous campaigns with our Parliamentary Group and others pointing out the dangers of de-staffing and the need to increase front line staff in the context of sexual assault. Examples of campaigns include the London Underground Tube and GTR ticket office closures and Northern Rail Franchise Agreements.

RMT are liaising with the TUC to increase union collaboration with the BTP and their programme to tackle sexual assault on public transport, ‘Project Guardian’.

We are looking at better ways of carrying out surveys of our members of their experience of helping victims of sexual assault other than through RMT News given the low return of previous surveys.

  • Violence Against Women Transport Workers Poster

This resolution was the second to be referred directly to the NEC.

The poster was named ‘‘Violence against Women Transport Workers – It’s not Part of the Job’ and the poster included this statement in number of different languages.

The poster which was produced by the RMT, printed up and distributed to the Branches before the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November 2015.

Our Speakers throughout the conference were (in no particular order):

  1. Vice –President , National Pensioner Convention (NPC) Jan Short
  2. Women’s Institute (WI) – The Scarborough Connection – Judith
  3. British Transport Police (BTP) : Child abuse – signs to spot and how to help – Andy Barnes
  4. Railway Chaplaincy , Network Rail – Angela Harwood
  5. Prisoners Rehabilitation Service – Scarborough Help Network

New Resolutions

  • Submitted by LU Engineering Branch

‘This Conference believes that some Women in the RMT are not aware that there is a Women’s Advisory Committee. In order to maximise our reputation (as with the badge that we sent out to all Women) we ask the NEC to support the RMT women activism by 3 distinctive points.

This resolution was moved by Val Barzey and seconded by Jennifer Kissi-Debra.

  • Submitted by Central Line East Branch

’This Conference believes that it is important that members and potential members see RMT as a diverse union which includes people like them. We note however that there are no female RMT Full Time Organisers.’

We therefore ask the union to organise a quarterly women’s organisinf week with central funding for members of the NWAC to have release from work to visit work places and take part in organising activities.

This resolution was moved by Jennie and seconded by Christine Willet.

Full details of any resolution can be obtained from the RMT Equalities Officer, Jess Webb.

Her e-mail address is: [email protected]

The next RMT National Women’s Conference 2017 will be held in the Isle of Wight. The dates are to be confirmed.

The Chair for 2016 is Mary Jane Herbison and the Vice chair is Jennifer Kissi-Debra.


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