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Culture & Religion

Hungarian Railway Opens Train Engine Driving To Women

The state-owned railway company overrode the wishes of its all-male engine drivers’ union in order to grow the numbers.

What’s the Latest Development?

As of Monday, training for women who are interested in becoming train drivers on Hungary’s state-owned railway MAV Zrt. is now available, thanks to the efforts of new CEO Ilona David, who says the intention is to grow the pool of available workers. The change took place despite protests by the all-male engine drivers’ union, which claimed in a November letter to prime minister Viktor Orban that women lacked the strength to perform occasional heavy lifting duties and that the job’s 12-hour shifts might be challenging to mothers. The letter also cited women’s possible inability “to cope with the trauma of a lethal accident.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Women drivers are a familiar sight on most other forms of Hungarian public transport, including buses and trams, yet all of MAV’s 3,200 engine drivers are men. When the letter was sent, union president Laszlo Kiss told a news portal that he couldn’t see the need to train new staff “when there are not enough jobs for the existing pool.” MAV’s move puts Hungary alongside Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, all of which employ women as engine drivers on modern trains where the work isn’t as labor-intensive as it was in the past.

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Read it at The Wall Street Journal


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