15 October 2010

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Page context: HomeRoad transportFatigue and Road Safety2010 Action Week > 15 October 2010

West Africa sub-regional activity
Road transport unions in the sub-region have come together during the Action Week as part of the ITF/SASK capacity building project to address the issues road transport workers are facing. The unions used the opportunity of the Action Week to demand a sub-regional collective agreement that will set decent working and living conditions for road transport workers. On 8 October, through different national activities, the unions have raised awareness of the authorities and the public of the issues facing road transport workers as well as the important role these workers play in the sub-regional economy, while paving the way for future negotiations with ECOWAS.

In addition to the activities already reported in Liberia and Senegal, action took place in the following countries:

Côte d'Ivoire: Activities were planned on the topic of the situation of roads and living conditions of road transport workers in Ouagolo and Ferkessédougou, however the authorities did not allow the organisation of such activities given the current political context in the country. Instead a meeting of about 20 drivers was held. Participants to the activity included members of the coalition, CNOP-CI which comprises 84 unions in the country, supported by a number of non-unionised truck corridor drivers whom the coalition has started recruiting.

Burkina Faso: UCRB, SNTRV-B, and FESTAB organised a march from Ouagadougou to Bobo Dioulasso toll bridge on 8 October to demand improvements in drivers’ working and living conditions. More than 100 trailers and car drivers wearing the ITF vests participated in this demonstration. At Ouaga-inter car station, the demonstrators discussed with their colleagues the problems they are encountering in their daily professional life.

Guinée-Conakry: The Road Transport Union of Zelekore, the Drivers' Union of Labe, the Truck Drivers' Union of Koundary, the Union of the Road Transport of the Port, and the Truck Drivers' Union of Macam participated in activities at two car stations and a port to raise awareness of harassment and the situation of roads in the country. The activities gathered 50 and 150 people at the car stations, and about 280 participants at the port.

Mali: Road transport union, SYNACOR lead the activities for the Action Week with a sensitisation campaign, which included meetings with the Transport Council and the Ministry of Transport to discuss the difficulties faced by road transport workers. The draft sub-regional collective agreement was also given to the National Assembly for consideration. The activity was also supported by unions such as SYNTRUI, the Groupement des Conducteurs de STIROS-Mali, the ACT, the Groupement d'Intérêt Économique de Séboudou, and the Groupement GIE.

Niger: All ITF-affiliated unions are due to take part in the Action Week activity which is planned on 16 October with a conference on decent work for road transport workers.

Sierra Leone: Workers from the Dock Workers' Union, the Seamen's Union, the Fishermen's Union, the Maritime Union and the Motor Drivers and General Transport Workers' Union met at the ITF complex in order to carry out sensitization activities on the need for a regional collective agreement. Many people attended this event, including invited government officials. The activity was broadcast on national TV.

Togo: FESYTRAT, SYNCHOHYTO, URT, UTEGRAS and UTRANSAM organised meetings on 8 October at car stations in Agoualapedo and Agoe, at the port, and at Aflao at the border with Ghana.

Ghana: All transport unions joined together with ITF road transport affiliate GTPCWU to interview road transport workers from the informal sectors on 8 October in order to sensitize them on the need to join a union and to fight for their rights.

(Email report by Germaine Ouedraogo)

The Transport & Communications Workers' Trade Union Industrial Federation held a panel discussion on road transport safety on 12 October, attended by the Federal Transport Authority. On 13 October, the union planned a DHL workers activity. (Phone report by Zerihun Alemu)

The Motor Transport and Road Workers' Union of Russia has participated in the Action Week under the slogan "Respect & Safety Now!" and the World Day for Decent Work by raising awareness of its members about issues related to the campaign. Information about the Action Week including campaign posters and guidelines have been dispatched to all 75 territorial divisions of the union. Posters have been displayed in workplaces and union offices. At union meetings, speakers from the top management of the road and electric urban transport departments or commissions were invited to discuss workers' social and labour rights as well as measures necessary to improve social protection schemes. In the cities of Irkutsk, Orel, Vladimir and some other regional centres, activists also used slogans such as "Solidarity of Russian Unions with the Global Trade Union Movement!", "Realistic Indexation for Decent Pay!", "Reponsible Social Policy for a Welfare State!", "Improve Pensions to No Less than 40% of the Lost Wages!" and "Implant Social Standards into CBAs" in their activities. The union reports that the grass-roots membership has positively supported the events recommended by the ITF for the Action Week explaining that the Action Week promotes a feeling of involvement in global transport workers' trade unionism among the members. (Email report by Viktor Mokhnachev)

In the morning of 8 October, members of ELA-Hainbat distributed campaign information leaflets with the slogan "Fatigue Kills!" on the AP-8 motorway at Biriatou on the border with France to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive working hours both for professional drivers but also for other road users. The union has also organised meetings with workers in the sector during the Action Week to explain the importance of the campaign and to highlight the union's campaign objectives and demands. The union has also taken action to explain the campaign to the authorities. Media coverage has been good. (Email report by Esteban Pereda)

View photos of activities in Spain >>

Great Britain
UNITE activists gathered in Dover on 13 October to highlight the union's message of 'No to privatisation' of the Port and the demand for equal wages for all drivers. Carrying union flags and wearing yellow high visibility jackets, the activists marched along the waterfront to the East Docks. On route, they stopped outside the Dover Harbour Board and shouted the message 'No to Privatisation'. At the entrance to the Docks, activists stayed for 30 minutes waving their flags. A union banner was displayed with the message 'Don't Break Britain - Cuts Kill Communities'. Several truck, taxi and private car drivers sounded their horns in support. Over the coming days, dock workers are distributing leaflets in the port. During lunch, Ron Webb (UNITE National Secretary) and Janina Malinovska (Assistant Section Secretary - ITF Inland Transport Sections) addressed the activists. Local media covered the event. (Email report by Janina Malinovska and Claire Clarke)

View photos of activities in Great Britain >>

From 8-12 October, activists from the Federation of Transport Trade Unions in Bulgaria (FTTUB) visited the border between Bulgaria and Serbia (Kalotina) and several parking areas where they were able to meet with many professional truck drivers. The union activists presented the ITF’s campaign initiative under the slogan, "Respect and Safety Now!”, including the history of the Action Week and its objectives. In informal talks with the drivers, the activists discussed the drivers’ working conditions, their lives on the road, and the everyday problems that drivers face. Moreover, the FTTUB activists provided updated information about professional drivers' rights as citizens of Bulgaria and Europe. The question of the role of trade unions at national, European and international levels was also raised during the talks. Campaign leaflets and posters, which also gave further information and contacts about the FTTUB, as well as the ITF and the ETF, were distributed to all drivers. Feedback from the professional drivers was positive; some drivers reported that they had already received information about the campaign during their travels around Europe. However, none of the drivers agreed to be photographed as they feared being recognised by their employers and being sanctioned as a result. (Email report by Slava Petrova)

In addition to the union information events during the Action Week, which included the distribution of 50,000 leaflets in different languages, ver.di has organised activity at the border between Germany and Poland with their Polish trade union colleagues. A discussion meeting has also been held with the Ministries of Labour and Environmental Protection. A delegation of 15 activists from the union also joined the international delegation of transport unionists who visited the Turkish union, TÜMTIS and 162 UPS workers who have been dımıssed by management at the picket-line on the outskirts of Istanbul on 9 October. (Email report by Malene Volkers)

View photos of activities organised in Germany >>

Fédération Chrétienne du Personnel des Transports have sent flyers and posters to their workshops. The union is also going to publish an article in their newspaper called 'Transport' in November about the Action Week. (Phone report by Mylene Wagner)

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