Almost 1.5 million maritime workers from 148 countries are represented by ITF unions.
ITF president and chair of the Dockers’ Section Paddy Crumlin said: “This conference comes at a crucial time for dockers’ unions and their members – dockers worldwide are facing serious challenges. Automation, outsourcing, union busting, liberalisation of ports and unsafe workplaces are some of the issues dockers are facing daily somewhere in the world. The upcoming conference is a global platform for ITF unions to come together and discuss these issues and agree on a strategy to deal with them to protect their members. Workers have the right to be an equal party in the discussion on what the future of work looks like in our industry and the ITF is our organisation that will help us defend that right - we are the ITF."
ITF Seafarers’ Section chair Dave Heindel said: “Economies rely on maritime workers nationally, regionally and globally, yet seafarers and dockers are constantly subject to attacks on their rights to safe and decent work nationally and internationally. Seafarers are too often criminalised or exploited internationally while seafarers in domestic trade are replaced by foreign labour at a much lower cost and who are exempt from protection in the country they work.
“The seafarers’ conference, and in particular the cabotage conference, will reaffirm the commitment of the ITF to protecting seafarers in national trade as well as in international trade. As it has been a priority for the ITF for almost 70 years to better the wage and working conditions for seafarers on FOC vessels in international trade, it is equally a priority for us to defend the rights of unions to obtain and retain employment in national waters at rates that don’t undermine the ability of their members to live a decent lifestyle.”
The dockers’ conference and seafarers’ conferences are two events in a series of ITF conferences leading up to the organisation’s next congress in Singapore in October 2018. The Pathway to Congress series will define the priorities and decisions made by the ITF at an international level.