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Transport workers in worldwide push for safe, decent work
12 October 2012
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|Workers in Nepal took part in a rally for road transport workers' rights during ITF week of action|
Unionists in Nepal and India marched several kilometres to a rally at the Indo-Nepali border this week to stand up for the rights of road transport workers.
They were among thousands of activists around the world participating in the ITF week of action from 7-13 October, involving road transport workers as well as employees across the freight and passenger sectors including railway workers for the first time. Many unions, including Thai affiliates, also joined the ITUC’s World Day for Decent Work on 7 October.
Actions to mark the week have been widespread. In West Africa, a wide range of events took place – from a rally in the Burkina Faso-Ghana-Togo border town of Bittou and a noisy convoy procession. The ITF Taxi Workers’ Day was marked on Tuesday with local branch members of the Canadian Autoworkers’ Union (CAW) taking to the streets to invite drivers to talk about their working conditions and share their concerns. It was part of their week-long activities nationwide.
Meanwhile regional branch members of the Trade Union of Railwaymen and Transport Construction Workers of Russia (ROSPROFZEL) met to discuss the importance of a qualified labour force in railways and modern vocational training for the industry as well as organising youth action in Krasnoyarsk with a drive to attract more young workers into the trade union movement.
Finnish AKT reported successful recruitment of 600 members to the union. Further afield, activists in Panama stood in front of Tocumen Airport in Panama City to raise awareness of the importance of joining a union to win better working conditions whilst unions expressed their solidarity with the 20 dismissed DHL workers in Turkey.
In Europe almost a thousand unionists, joined by a convoy of trucks, participated in a demonstration in Brussels on 9 October organised by the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the ITF’s European arm. They were protesting about degrading jobs and working conditions across the road transport industry. Unions from countries such as Belgium, France and the Netherlands took part. An ETF delegation also met with members of the European Parliament.
ITF inland transport section secretary Mac Urata commented: “Our slogan - transport workers fighting back - resonates with our affiliates and their members as they continue to confront attacks to their established conditions. But you are not alone as a member of the ITF. In some cases, unions regained some ground through this action week."
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