South Asia organising project
Much of the transport sector in South Asia has a two-tier workforce: with men in more formal jobs and young people and women mostly in temporary and casual jobs. Workers in the formal sector are more likely to be organised and aware of their rights. Informal workers tend to have fewer benefits and are more at risk from redundancies.
There are more people than jobs – a labour surplus – and this has a negative impact on workers’ rights in South Asia. Both workplaces and unions are also male-dominated.
Our aim is to organise the marginalised workforce – particularly the young people and women in informal and casual labour. We need to:
- make them more aware of their labour rights
- strengthen their position in unions
- develop union strategies to protect them from harassment and exploitation
Solidarity support organisation: LO-TCO
HIV/AIDS and gender
Around the world, millions of women work in the transport industry, from bus and train drivers to port workers, airline cabin crew, executives, call centre staff and office workers. Like other workers in the transport industry, they’re seeing globalisation, deregulation and privatisation squeeze their jobs, wages and working conditions. Women transport workers also face:
- unequal wages and rights
- closed doors
- poor maternity and parenting provision
- discrimination and harassment
ITF supports women in unions and wants to end discrimination. We want to see more women in leadership positions. Long absences from home, poor working conditions and stress make transport workers particularly vulnerable to HIV, whether they work on land, sea or air routes. With support from the ITF, transport unions are taking responsibility and taking action. To tackle this major social issue they are, providing tangible assistance to their members and contributing to national efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.
We want to:
- challenge stigma around HIV/AIDS
- improve working conditions to reduce transport workers’ vulnerability to HIV/AIDS
- improve union strategies to reduce harassment of workers based on gender and other discrimination in the workplace
- strengthen women’s leadership to continue this work on gender and HIV/AIDS
For information and activities about this issue, see the ITF HIV/AIDS handbook for affiliates
Solidarity support organisation: FNV Mondiaal
Transport workers in Thailand
Thai law says that public sector unions can’t organise private sector workers. Outsourcing and contracting to private companies, combined with such legislation, means trade union membership has fallen.
We want to:
- expand union membership in public sector unions in Thailand
- bring many more casual and contract workers into newly organised private sector unions
- set up new unions in target workplaces
- develop organising, campaigning and leadership skills, making unions a force to be reckoned with in Thai employment
- build awareness of trade unions and activism among unorganised workers in the transport sector in Thailand
Solidarity support organisation: SASK
Rail unions in Indonesia
In Indonesia, the rail network is expanding with a new metro rail and airport rail link. Most of the work created has been given to informal and contract workers . Serjkat Pekerja Kereta Api (SPKA) is the Indonesian railway workers union that organises them.
We’re working with SPKA to:
- build it into a free and democratic organisation with strong regional bases
- organise the contract workers
- strengthen education within the union by creating an education resource bank and pool of specialist educators
Solidarity support organisation SASK
For more information
Browse through our education resources for inspiration and practical tools to help you organise.