Norwegian rail union elects first woman leader

In a historic move, Jane B Sæthre has been unanimously elected the first woman president of ITF union the Norwegian Railway Association in its 124 years.

She has been a member of the union since 1996 and was its vice-president. She was previously a sales manager at CargoNet for nine years.

On her election on 25 October, Ms Sæthre said: “My priorities will be strengthening the union and encouraging our members and officers to campaign for a change of government in Norway’s general election next year. Achieving these would help us be better placed to help shape a positive future for Norway’s railway industry.”

She is also committed to seeing more women at the top of her union, where only two of 18 members of the executive committee are women, and is encouraged by the increase in women union representatives.

Ms Sæthre was elected to the newly-established ITF women’s committee as the railway workers’ section representative in 1998 for a four-year term.

ITF inland transport secretary Mac Urata warmly congratulated Ms Sæthre.  He commented that promoting gender equality in union activities and reflecting it in the leadership is not only the right of women members but is also strategically important for the organisation. He added that with increasing outsourcing of services in the rail industry, more women would be in those low-paid, precarious jobs, and unions would become stronger if they organised those workers.

Find out more about the struggles and achievements of ITF women transport workers here.

Read more about the activities of ITF’s railway unions and their members. Link to


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