Skip to main content


Automation is only one of the many impacts that digital technology is having on the transport and logistics industry, but it is the best known and most feared and has become a shorthand for the whole process of digitalisation. Among our sections dockers have been particularly heavily exposed to the replacement of labour through automation.
At ITF we have been analysing the issues arising from the digitalisation of the global economy so as to enable our affiliates across our sectors and regions to successfully confront the challenges posed by this development. We have also begun developing policies designed to influence the discussion around digitalisation in international institutions like the OECD, the ILO and within the global trade union movement.
Understanding technological development demands that we understand the many processes that shape it, and that push it forward. It is a highly complex issue that quickly takes us into economics and then politics, and onwards. As yet the world lacks a well-developed science of technological development, or a means of predicting its impacts, and this means that all predictions should be treated with some scepticism. Estimating potential impacts on workers and designing the right policies to protect them therefore requires us to critically assess information produced by others, as well produce our own data by talking to our affiliates around the world, while using the past as a guide.
On these pages you will find an automation toolkit highlighting some successful cases of unions negotiating the introduction of new technology. You will also find more detailed analysis of some of the issues under the headings to the left.

Subscribe to Automation

Automation News

News | 13 Jul 2019

ITF supports Amazon workers in fight for their rights

Through a series of planned actions next week, Amazon will be challenged to do the right thing and recognise workers and their importance to the success of the...

News | 26 Jun 2019

ILO renews social contract with centenary declaration

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton has delivered a clear message to the International Labour Organisation (ILO): now is the time to assert authority as the...

News | 17 Jun 2019

Vatican, ITF and employers join forces to fight for global justice

Final Statement of the Workshop (Casina Pio IV, 4-5 March 2019) The Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, in collaboration with the...

News | 27 Apr 2019

International Workers’ Memorial Day: making technology work for us, not against us

By Victor Figueroa, ITF strategic researcher Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) are crucial issues for workers everywhere in the world. Over decades workers in...

See more

Join the solidarity network

The ITF co-ordinates practical solidarity for transport unions around the world. By bringing unions together, we can ensure better working conditions, improve workers’ rights, and create a just and fair society for everyone.

Join now