The automation work group heard from workers representing multiple ITF global regions and transport sectors.
Rob Johnston, ITF assistant general secretary, opened the meeting by saying: “The ITF needs to innovate, influence and inspire if we are make sure workers are the beneficiaries of future change.”
Professor Bo Dahlbom, Gothenburg University, also told the group about his prediction of a future based on data, with platforms designed to access it.
"Unions need to build their digital competencies, and cooperate globally to face this change," he said.
"If we don't climb in and be active, then someone else will."
Luciano Patricio Salomon, Asociacion Señaleros Ferroviarios Argentinos (ASFA), agreed that ITF unions can't fight new technology, but should not standby either and must be actors in the changes.
Frederik Söderqvist from Sweden's largest private sector union, Unionen, called for unions to digitise their collective agreements to make it easy for new digital companies to access them.
Ed Santos, Associated Marine Officers and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), described how automation can directly help workers: they are working to digitise seafarers' records in the Philippines to make it easier for employers to recruit them.
The working group will meet again to contribute to the developing strategy around the future of work in transport up to the ITF congress, October 2018, and beyond.