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Diversity & Inclusion Matters!

18 March 2012

After years of bad practice it seems that Network Rail are finally grasping the nettle of the diversity of the workforce.

This issue affects everyone – it goes to the core of how a company should treat its staff. Is an employer open, fair, consistent, transparent and rewarding those who want to do a good job? Or is it negative? Does it treat people according to whether their “face fits”? Does it punish those who speak out, and lose the trust of its loyal employees?

Your union welcomes that Network Rail has openly shared the contents of the summary “Diversity and Inclusion Review of HR’s Recruitment and Promotion Processes”. If you have not read it then seek out a copy on Connect. But the hard work starts now, and your union is already at the heart of pushing the changes that Network Rail needs to make.

What does “Diversity and Inclusion” mean?

Diversity in the workplace, is about accepting and valuing the differences and similarities of a collective mix of people. It’s also about harnessing their differences and similarities to maximise their potential, add value to their team and contribute to organisational goals. Inclusion is about having a work environment where employees feel valued and respected and able to contribute to their full potential, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, age, or any other personal attribute. It’s an environment which promotes dignity at work.

What needs to change?

The Diversity and Inclusion Report makes a number of key recommendations which your Union believes need to be implemented:

·         A change in culture and behaviour right from the top. Senior managers can no longer ignore this problem, and should lead by example by demonstrating inclusive behaviours themselves.

·         Consistent, fair and transparent procedures on recruitment and promotion, including re-organisation processes. Staff should know how they are going to be treated, have confidence in the procedures and not have to raise individual complaints.

·         Eradication of discriminatory behaviours. Such as – treating disabled employees as “sick” or incapable, negative attitudes to women when they become pregnant, unacceptable language and bullying behaviour.

·         A review of pay structures and practice. Network Rail can no longer ignore that their role clarity system is broken and does not reward staff fairly.

·         Training for both line managers and HR in both their legal duties and best practice.

In all of this your union will be there as your voice, fighting to ensure that the findings of this report are carried out to make Network Rail a better place to work.

Our work on equal pay

Over the past few months we've been targeting managment roles where our previous survey data shows there are large pay differentials. The principle that woment and men are entitle to equal pay for doing equal work is embedded in British and European law. However, the data we have shows that women managers are on average paid £4,500 per year less than men doing the same job, and that women managers are concentrated in the lower management bands. But, the current system is so chaotic that both men and women can be paid much less than the highest paid staff member, meaning that many men also have potential equal pay claims.

Staff in the target roles have been asked to complete a survey to evaluate whether they may have an equal pay claim, and some of the pay differentials are staggering. With some staff being paid nearly twice as much as others for doing the same job, something has to change. We have now submitted the first batch of Equal Pay claims for women members, and this will be followed by more in the future. We’re determined to ensure that Network Rail can no longer dodge their responsibility on equal pay, and that all staff are paid fairly.    

How can you become part of this?

You can get more involved with your union’s work around all the issues above by becoming a rep specialising in equalities. Full training and support will be given. The role will see you:

·         Trained in best practice in diversity & inclusion and equalities law.

·         Monitoring and ensuring consistency of approach across NR.

·         Supporting and representing members on equalities and D&I matters.

·         Providing advice for other reps on equalities and D&I.

·         Organising, communicating and networking with members from under-represented groups.

If you are interested then contact Jerry Wines at or 07801 185547.



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