ALE – Train Drivers‘ Unions of Europe

Targets and Position paper

Targets of ALE

ALE advocates a harmonised development of railways in Europe. For this purpose it demands  the establishment of clear rules to ensure the future viability of railways, the employment of workers, the conditions under which they operate, and the safe carrying out of railway transport.

To achieve this  ALE will focus its actions on the following areas:

  • Training: it is absolutely necessary to expand the level of knowledge and to define more   clearly the curricula and training processes that will ensure high levels of professionalism among new locomotive staff who are entering the service driving trains. Supervisory and control proceedures should also be increased to guarantee its implementation throughout the European Union.
  • Safety: the European Railway Agency should increase its capabilities in this matter and  promote the creation of national railway safety agencies, guaranteeing their independence from public authorities and infrastructure managers.
  • Working conditions: the creation of a global railway market needs to be accompanied by  the harmonisation of social, economic and working conditions of train drivers to levels in line with the great responsability demanded by their profession. This would also prevent social and wage dumping and the relocation of activities.
  • Social dialogue: The ALE is the major representative organization of European train drivers. Professionally speaking, Community regulations in the railway sector concern train dirivers almost exclusively, so it is essential that EU institutions establish a direct dialogue with the legitimate representatives of the train drivers. The ALE considers it vital to be recognised as a social partner in the Sectoral Social Dialogue for Railways.
  • Dialogue with other social agents: The ALE considers it a priority to establish  channels for dialogue with the representative organisations of enterprises at a European level, similar to those that exist in practically all States among business organizations and their member unions at a national level. The ALE also considers it important to establish channels for cooperation with other trade unions of international scope in order to defend the interests of workers.

Basic position paper of ALE

  • Governance of social dialog: As the legitimate representative of the majority of the European locomotive drivers, ALE considers it essential to be included in all processes related to railway transport where the representatives of the employees have the right to participate, as well as in the different organs of the institutions or bodies related to this transport mode where trade unions usually participate.
  • Role of the European Railway Agency: ALE hopes for an increase in the functions and responsibilities of ERA and the establishment of proceedings of coordination and cooperation with the national safety authorities (NSAs) regarding the emission of certifications and authorisations or the previous evaluation in order to implement the ERTMS system, as well as the control and supervision of all aspects that fall under interoperability and safety of railway transport. For this, ALE considers it a priority to provide the ERA with the necessary manpower and material resources to cope with this increase of tasks.
  • Definition, control and supervision of European rules that set minimum safety standards for train drivers: ALE believes that a rule-based framework has to be set up by legal norms which fix, for all and in a binding way, the minimum safety level in relation to working, driving and resting time for train drivers. Moreover, the necessary elements to ensure a proper supervision and control of the rules must be developed.
  • Definition of the minimum prerequisites and the minimum duration of the training period in order for train drivers to obtain the license and the certificates: In the view of ALE, the description of the minimum training contents referred to in Directive 2007/59 must be completed to the extent that it should define the necessary initial academic degree to obtain licences and certificates (ALE considers level 4 of the European Qualification Framework for Lifelong Learning suitable) and set the minimum duration required to obtain a license, certificates and accreditations.
  • Definition of the minimum prerequisites, learning contents and minimum duration of the training period for other train staff: ALE considers that all staff members that carry out functions related to safety must have been provided with necessary qualifications. In the view of this, ALE believes that an adequate corresponding regulation must be set up.
  • Warranty measures for social protection: EU regulations must include measures of social protection when a train service is awarded to a new operator, ensuring a smooth subrogation of the concerned workers.
  • Governance of railway infrastructures: ALE considers that the only real warranty of independence between infrastructure managers and operating enterprises is the institutional separation. ALE also considers it essential to ensure the maintenance of the public ownership of railway infrastructures.
  • Involvement of operators in the railway system: ALE supports the existence of railway enterprises involved in the system and supporting the railway transport mode. However, ALE rejects the intrusion of actors which look for short-term economic benefits only. ALE believes that the measures which govern the railway sector must not be focused on favouring such actors but on facilitating the consolidation of those railway enterprises that want to remain in the sector. ALE is also concerned about the proposed regulation in relation to the states’ obligation to assume the risk of the acquisition of rolling stock and of making it available to the winners of the contracts. In the view of the ALE, it is absolutely necessary to set strict rules which stipulate that the winners of contracts also need to bring investments to the railway system.
  • Promoting anti-dumping measures: ALE considers it essential to adopt proactive policies to avoid damage for railway safety, an outsourcing of activities as well as bad consequences for the workers’ health in the rail sector. ALE believes it to be very important to set off a warranty referred to the receipt of the mayor of salaries, either the one of the employment country or the one of the country where staff is working. At the same time, ALE considers that a framework for supranational negotiation has to be created with regards to enterprises which carry out economic activities in more than one country. This framework must involve all worker-representing organisations.

CESI European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions

CESI is a European trade union organization. It encompasses trade unions from the member states of the European Union and other European states.

Social Europe is slowly taking shape, with full employment remaining the priority aim. Without European initiatives and better coordination of national measures, it will not be possible to achieve further progress in social policy and win the fight against unemployment. Employees must therefore join forces to assert their interests at European level.

Europe is more than just the Member States of the Union, however. The enlargement of the EU marks the start of a new era. Europe’s cultural diversity and different traditions represent not only a challenge but also an enrichment. CESI supports the enlargement of the Union so that the preconditions for the development of the “European house” can be created.


European Railway Agency ERA

The ALE takes an active part in the following working groups of the European Railway Agency (ERA):

  1. Cross acceptance working group.
  2. Operational Harmonisation of ERTMS working group.
  3. TSI Locomotive and Passengers rolling stock working group.
  4. Human Factors network.
  5. Other train crew members.
  6. Vocational competences – implementation of driver licence directive working group.
  7. Safety performance working group.
  8. Rationalisation of vehicle related registers working group.