CESI, ALE & ATCEUC meet European Commission and EU Railways Agency over Just Culture in train driving

On May 13, the leaderships of CESI and its train driver affiliates from the Autonomous Train Drivers’ Unions of Europe (ALE) and air traffic controller members from the Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) met in Brussels with delegations from the EU Railways Agency (ERA) and the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) of the European Commission. The objective was to address the identified urgency of the ALE to advance discussions with EU decision makers on Just Culture for train drivers, based on positive experiences already made in the field of air traffic management.

In joint meetings, CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger, ALE President Juan Jesús Garcia Fraile and ATCEUC President Volker Dick discussed among themselves and together with ERA and European Commission representatives in particular past achievements and still existing challenges in the development and implementation of Just Culture for air traffic controllers and what lessons can be learned from that for Just Culture in railways, which is not yet far developed.

ATCEUC President Volker Dick said: “ATCEUC has been a driving force behind the development of Just Culture for air traffic controllers in European civil aviation – a culture in which front-line operators and others are not punished for actions, omissions or decisions taken by them which are commensurate with their experience and training, but where gross negligence, wilful violations and destructive acts are not tolerated. We are glad to share our experiences with our fellow trade union partners from the ALE.”

ALE President Juan Jesús Garcia Friale added: “Just Culture is increasingly becoming a challenge for train drivers too, and we want to be a front runner in helping its development in the train driving sector. Exchanges of views with the more advanced air traffic management sector are very useful to this end.

Many challenges appear to be the same, for air traffic controllers and train drivers alike. Both are front-line operators handling technically complex transportation and communications tools, and security of passengers is key in both railways and aviation. This requires a careful balance between reporting obligations of safety incidents by staff and personnel in order to improve potentially systemic failures in operation systems with a culture of trust by employers, authorities and the judiciary in which train drivers do not have to fear to be unjustly prosecuted after turning in ‘their’ incident. ”

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger commented: “Just Culture is a great example of CESI bringing together expertise from different trade unions members, this time in the field of transportation, to create synergies and a real and concrete added value as a European umbrella association. Our meetings with ALE, ATCEUC and the representatives from the ERA and European Commission clearly showed our role as an important partner and linking actor between our sectoral trade union members and the development of Just Culture beyond single sectors in Europe.”

At the fringe of the meetings, a declaration of intent for collaboration on Just Culture was signed by the ALE, ATCEUC and CESI leadership in order to formalise effective joint follow-up initiatives.

A video clip of the CESI-ALE-ATCEUC meetings is available on CESI’s Youtube channel.

Picture: Klaus Heeger (CESI) and Volker Dick (ATCEUC) with Juan Jesús Garcia Fraile (ALE) © CESI 2019