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Arab World steering committee meet in Beirut to plan for future

15 Mar 2019

The ITF Arab World steering committee, representing 40 unions from 13 countries, came together in Beirut, Lebanon on 12-13 March 2019.

The unions agreed to strategies to implement the short and long term priorities of the region so they can effectively address the issues facing transport workers.

The plans discussed aligned with the ITF's global priorities and include projects to build democratic unions, and to develop the participation of young and women transport workers. 

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton repeated the need to align global and regional work plans to effectively represent transport workers. 

President of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers’, Beshara Al Asmar, stressed the importance of future cooperation with the ITF, particularly in the area of protection for seafarers working on Lebanese vessels. 

On 14 March, Stephen Cotton, ITF Arab World regional secretary Bilal Malkawi, and ITF global youth officer Baker Khundakji met with the Lebanese Cabin Crew Union. They heard about the issues facing cabin crew, such as the need for proper certification and recognition of their important on board security role. 

At the conclusion of the summit, Mr Cotton said: "The delegation this week opens the door to more cooperation with the Lebanese transport unions, with a goal of bringing these unions into the ITF family, and to support and strengthen the transport workers unions in Lebanon.

"Lebanon is a strategic country in the region and plays an important role in the maritime industry. With the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention coming into force in Lebanon on 9 March 2019, we will work together to ensure that working conditions for seafarers in Lebanon are in line with international standards.”

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