The ITF is appalled by recent attacks on Argentinian railway workers and the reckless and irresponsible actions of the employers which led to them.
Cancellations and severe disruption to Argentina’s railways have been caused by mismanagement and underinvestment, not workers. But instead of taking responsibility, management has chosen to lay the blame on the workers.
This disgraceful scapegoating has led to attacks on railway staff by a number of furious passengers, which left many with serious injuries.
“We must be very clear,” said David Gobé, ITF Railway Workers’ Section Chair. “Railway workers and the travelling public have the same interests, and decent pay and conditions mean a better experience for passengers. Proper investment means good jobs for workers, and better services for the public.”
We unreservedly condemn the attacks on Argentinian railway workers. We are clear about where the blame lies: with the employers and politicians who refuse to take responsibility for their failings and with the Argentine authorities who refuse to give Argentina’s railways the investment and funding that they need and which the Argentinian people deserve.
Actions by employers which compromise the safety of railway workers are disgraceful in and of themselves, but they also offer no solutions to the travelling public who are rightly frustrated by poor service provision.
Today at the ITF Railway Workers’ Conference of the ITF, meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, rail unions passed a motion aimed at coordinating solidarity with all transport workers facing attacks on their basic democratic rights, and to facilitate greater information sharing between affiliates on campaigns and initiatives that help build the case for greater investment in public transport and the need for public ownership.
The motion submitted by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), ‘Defending jobs, pay and conditions on rail and winning the battle for public investment and public ownership’ will see the ITF strengthen and expand the global ITF Safe and Sustainable Railway campaign. The campaign will continue to condemn those governments which act on behalf of private rail companies, seeking to cut staff, outsource services, impose new working arrangements and greater automation at the expense of jobs, safety and accessibility.