LU's equality and inclusion hypocrisy

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 04/21/2014 - 21:22

LU promotes inclusion, equality, and diversity in its training and every promotional interview. Good. No worker benefits from working for an employer that fosters prejudice amongst its workforce. But when it comes to putting its money where its mouth is, LU's record isn't so great.

Women make up just 18% of LU's workforce. This is partly because the sexist idea that the railway is "men's work" hasn't gone away. But it seems a lack of flexibility towards people with caring responsibilities (usually women, because age-old gender roles mean women still do the majority of caring) also pushes women out of the workforce. Full-time shifts demand us to be available for work about 21 hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days a year. LU does not like to be flexible: "Your family life is not LU's responsibility" is a line many of us have heard. This, in part, explains why women make up only 27% of full-time CSAs, 28% of full-time SAMFs and just 15% of full-time supervisors.

But women are much better represented in part-time jobs, where fewer hours and a more fixed working pattern makes it easier to manage childcare. 46% of part-time CSAs, 53% of part-time SAMFs and 59% of part-time supervisors are women. This indicates the kind of diversity LU could achieve in its full-time grades if it was prepared to fund enough staff to afford more flexibility. Instead, it's cheaper to force women into part-time work or out of the workforce altogether.

The "Fit for the Future — Stations" cuts will also force disabled workers out of the workforce, which is particularly devastating at a time when the Tory government is attacking disability benefit. Ticket sellers and SCRAs with mobility issues that prevent them from standing on the gateline or platform for hours on end could suddenly be required to work alone on a station in roles demanding more mobility. LU has refused to guarantee that people will be accommodated with "reasonable adjustments" because it wants to run the job with nearly 1,000 fewer people, so it needs us all to be fit and super mobile. It won't commit to accommodate us all because that would mean spending money so extra staff could allow a bit of flexibility. Instead, LU has said it will pay VS to disabled workers who cannot be accommodated... basically forcing us out of work.

LU pays lip service to inclusion until it costs them money. Then it is happy to exclude us. This is why we need strong union organisation of women, disabled workers, and every group that faces discrimination.

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