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Global transport union calls on transport ministers to support industry wide just transition plans

news Press Release 24 May 2023

Transport ministers meeting at the annual summit of the International Transport Forum, must take the lead on globally coordinated, state led, industry wide just transition plans.

Governments attending the largest gathering of transport ministers in Leipzig this week (24–26 May) know they must respond to convergence crises; from the impact of dangerous climate change, the rising cost of living and a shortage of decent work in transport.

The International Transport Workers’ Federations’ (ITF) three-point plan for transport ministers sets out how transport ministers can take action on climate change, jobs and investment:           

  1. Transport industry wide national just transition plans with national just transition committees.
  2. Government commitments on climate finance to secure long term investment for transport in developing countries.
  3. Supporting transport workers’ action on climate change through the creation of good union jobs, with decent wages and safe and secure working condition.

The ITF Global Poll of voters in 15 countries showed strong support for the ITF plan. 80% of people want their government to increase investment in sustainable transport, and 79% want their government to put in place national plans to lower emissions in the transport sector.

Industry wide just transition plans

“Governments must actively plan to meet the climate challenge with industry wide just transition plans,” said ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton. “Implementing concrete measures to involve workers in decision making at all levels of the transport industry will secure sustainable economies. Every government should establish an industry wide just transition plan with a Just Transition Committee for the transport sector. This is essential to actively plan for the challenges ahead on skill development, on health and safety and on employment security.”

Climate finance and investment in sustainable transport

“Commitments to act on climate change requires a commitment on climate finance. Globally there is a massive funding gap on sustainable transport. We need hard commitments from governments to mobilise finance based on robust needs assessments, that commit to public finance for key transport infrastructure and services, ensuring democratic control, and making sure just transition standards are hard wired into climate finance flows,” said Cotton.

Jobs, wages and conditions

“There is no climate justice without worker justice,” said Cotton. “Transport workers are already leading on climate action, but we must make sure that the risks of climate change and the burdens of climate action do not fall on workers. The decarbonisation of the transport sector must be rapid, safe and fair for workers and communities. It must create good union jobs, with decent wages and safe working conditions. That is what we mean by just transition.”

Transport workers and their unions are working with governments and employers to implement just transition plans including:

  • The Future is Public Transport campaign with the C40 network of mayors.
  • The Maritime Just Transition Task Force with the International Chamber of Shipping, the UN Global Compact, the International Labour Organisation, and the International Maritime Organisation.
  • Strategic tripartite action on just transition with aviation employers and governments at the ILO following a technical meeting on sustainable aviation held in April 2023.

Just transition must be central to all discussions by governments from 63 countries and is the way for transport to support sustainable economies. Governments are engaging with the climate challenge, but effective climate action will only be possible with the full engagement of transport workers and commitment to the ITF’s three-point plan.