The ITF reaffirms the critical role transport workers continue to play in keeping the world moving through the Covid-19 pandemic, and our solidarity with our members who continue to do their unions, families and communities proud. At a time of unprecedented crisis, we stop to remember and honour those who have lost their lives in recent months. In their names, we commit to continue advocating for better occupational safety and health standards, with a central role for unions and workers across our sectors.
Our brave members put their lives on the line every day while confronting extraordinary levels of stress and challenges to their mental health as a result of the pandemic. Across the supply chain, transport workers are keeping key services afloat but have become even more vulnerable to exploitation in all sectors. Workers continue to be left without jobs or access to the social protections they are entitled to. This disproportionately affects those in informal, precarious and non-standard forms of employment, particularly women and young workers.
At the onset of the crisis, the ITF laid out the actions needed to be taken by employers and governments – in each transport sector and the entire supply chain – to protect workers, the public and the economy.
Alongside our social partners, we developed solutions to resolve the crew change crisis. But 400,000 seafarers still remain trapped at sea, separated from their families, exceeding the limits of safe shipping. We are campaigning tirelessly to say ‘Enough is Enough’. At the same time, we are organising and campaigning for our railway workers and our public transport workers, who continue to put their health and lives at risk working to protect others, and our truck drivers, who have been forced to work longer and harder. Aviation is an industry in crisis but we have a roadmap to protect employment, standards and build a sustainable industry for the future.
Whilst some governments and employers have shown leadership, others have done nothing. In some cases, we are even witnessing the simultaneous misuse of public relief schemes and attacks on terms and conditions of employment. Meanwhile, the hasty introduction of digital technologies and platform services without consultation is having a significant impact on jobs and working conditions, disproportionately impacting young and women workers.
Just this week, 13 railway workers from our affiliates in Thailand were sentenced to three years imprisonment and hefty fines, simply for trying to improve national rail safety measures. Today, we are calling for an end to inaction and governments using Covid-19 as a guise to attack workers’ rights.
The global economic model has failed working women and men. We call for more sustainable environmental, social and governance policies. Our solutions are realistic and fair, and they must be adopted if we want to protect our communities and economies.
As we continue to lobby for industry-wide solutions, we are also moving into the next phase of our crisis response to protect our members.
We have a plan to protect jobs, income security and workers’ rights and put a vision of sustainable transport at the heart of the recovery.
We have a plan on how to implement universal health and safety standards in all transport sectors, with active workers’ participation in the decision-making in their workplaces.
We also have a plan to strengthen our membership, including women transport workers, young transport workers, informal transport workers, and with allies in our communities. Our message to transport workers under threat is simple: join a union and build your power.
The ITF is part of a global movement that is still growing. Together with our sister global union federations and the International Trade Union Confederation, representing over 200 million workers, we are more committed to international solidarity than ever before. Unions give workers power, and we are their international arm.
Today, we are calling time on the unnecessary risks facing transport workers. Regionally and internationally, we call on the UN to do more to protect transport and the working men and women that keep the world moving.
Nationally, we urge governments and employers to sit down with us: listen to our calls and those of our unions and act, show leadership to safeguard decent jobs, and retain and retrain workers to respond to the challenges of Covid-19.
We – the ITF – have the plans to allow us to emerge from this crisis a stronger, fairer global society.