Women’s Committee comes together to pledge for parity
With women still fighting for equality in the workplace, the Women’s Campaign Committee of RTBU NSW met yesterday to discuss what the union can do to better encourage the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in the transport industry.
Highlighted this year was the ongoing need for gender parity.
This call is for more than just pay equality between men and women, but also valuing the contributions of both sexes equally, equity in leadership positions, creating inclusive and flexible workplace cultures, and challenging bias against women in the workplace, especially in traditionally male centred industries.
This will kick off with a survey that will be distributed to female members to complete, with the goal of garnering their views about what they want to see come out of the WCC, and how they want to get involved in grassroots activities.
The possibility of a quarterly newsletter was also raised, with members asked to advise on the survey if they would be interested.
The WCC is also keeping the pressure on Sydney Trains, NSW Trains & TfNSW around urine testing. The Committee will be fighting in the short term for the introduction of “modesty kits”, which would help protect the dignity of female employees when providing a urine sample by providing a sample jar, gloves, paper bag, and a “Shepee”, a device usually used in the military or other outdoor jobs that allows a woman to give a sample without making bodily contact.
The Committee will continue to fight for mouth swab testing to be introduced, but this will be a hard battle, and will need the support of all members to ensure that we have our voices heard on this issue. If we can get 10,000 signatures, we can have this issue brought in front of the State Parliament and show them just how out of touch the current situation is for women, and why we need mouth swab testing instead.
This year the Committee was joined by the Hon. Courtney Houssos MLC, a member of the NSW Legislative Council and a senior Labor Party figure. Courtney knows what it’s like to work in a male dominated industry, with the NSW Parliament still a boys club.
“You are incredibly tough and resilient women who work and advocate for women in an overwhelmingly male-dominated environment. I look forward to supporting your campaigns,” Mrs Houssos said.
“I’m delighted to be speaking with such a ground breaking group of women today – a group which is still breaking down barriers for women’s participation in some of today’s most male dominated roles.
“Whether it’s fighting for your safety at work, fighting for fair pay and conditions, fighting to eliminate harassment in the workplace, or fighting for a more effective public transport system, the RTBU is a union that fights for its members.
“I congratulate and thank you for the valuable work you do every day, not just for our community, but for all women.”
Also sharing her experiences was Maryanne Stuart, an Organiser with the ACTU Better Future Campaign in the Revesby area and former official of the RTBU.
As workplace diversity levels are still lagging well behind targets set by Transport for NSW, and while the transport cluster is still dominated by men, we need to always be conscious of working to ensure that our workplaces are welcoming places for all.
The State and Federal Liberal Governments are currently fighting against issues that affect women at a higher rate than men. These include slashing fair pay and conditions that protect part-time and casual workers who are more often women, scrapping fair superannuation provisions for lower paid workers, and attacking affordable childcare.
The Women’s Committee will continue to support women in the Union and work with others in the movement to improve conditions for women in all industries.
Thank you to Narelle Sinclair, Giovanna Benelli, Julie Puttock, Kelly Budden, Leanne Holmes, Nyssa Parsons, and Ragini Naidu for signing the pledge and coming along.