Arab spring and freedom for Palestine in spotlight at ITF Arab World regional conference

The impact of the Arab Spring on trade union rights, and global support for the freedom of workers in Palestine are high on the agenda of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) Arab World regional conference.

More than 200 trade unionists from across the region will meet in Tunisia this week to assess their achievements and challenges, and to set their work agenda for the next 18 months.

The Arab World has the most quickly growing membership rates across the ITF.

ITF president and dockers’ section chair Paddy Crumlin will be on the opening panel of the conference. He said: “This region is rife with opportunities for organising transport workers and building on the strength and dynamism of people who are not prepared to have their fundamental human rights denied.

“The growing trade union membership in this region and the rise of the Arab spring are not coincidental. People are crying out for fairness and justice and trade unions are a vehicle to achieve those things.

“We’re here in Tunisia, a country where trade unionists have fought against terrorism and violence and been internationally recognised for that through the Nobel peace prize. They are standing firm – along with transport trade unionists all over the world - against the undermining of democracy which we’re seeing become more and more prevalent in our societies.”

Moncef Ben Ramadhane from UGTT Tunis said: “The ITF Arab World regional conference is an important milestone event in the life and future of Arab World transport unions, and we are keen to draw a strategy and methodology from it that supports Arab World transport unions. We want to assist them in building a framework of independence and to have impact on the political trends within Arab countries with regard to transport in all sectors; road, rail, maritime and civil aviation. We want union structures to include ongoing work programmes within the Arab countries and to find mechanisms to form unions inside the countries that currently have no trade union representation.”

A youth delegation of global trade unionists that was part of a mission to Palestine in 2016 will join Palestinian transport workers in a panel session on next steps for support in the country.


The ITF Arab World regional conference takes place from 14-16 February at Le Palace Hotel, Complexe Cap Gammarth, Route Express de Gamarth, Marsa 86 2078, Tunisia.     



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