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ITF to sign ground-breaking agreement at 44th Congress on the future of work and training for workers

news 05 Oct 2018

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) will sign an important agreement at its 44th Congress in Singapore to research the future of work in every transport sector, and suggest interventions to help workers improve their skills to compete for high-value jobs.

Dave Heindel, chair of the ITF seafarers’ section and member of the ITF executive board, and Steve Tan Peng Hoe, director of the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute (OTCi), will sign the agreement. The OTCi is the training arm of the Singapore National Trades Union Congress.

As part of the deal the OTCi will also provide training to help participants better appreciate the forces of disruption affecting transport work in the future. 

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton said: "This is a unique agreement for the ITF because transport workers are facing unique challenges as the industry changes beyond all recognition. We must ensure that the future of work in transport is good jobs with good conditions for all. But at the same time transport workers must be ready for the huge changes that are coming in their sector, and this means their unions must be prepared and ready to shape that change. This work by the OTCi will help us to do this.

"This Congress is all about transport workers building power through innovative campaigns, growing membership and influencing policy. By uniting our efforts, we can ensure that the future of work provides good opportunities for all transport workers."

Mary Liew, chairperson of the ITF Singapore national coordinating committee (SNCC) and general secretary of the Singapore Maritime Officers Union (SMOU), said: "It's no coincidence that this Congress is being held in Singapore as it focuses on the future of work in transport. We have shown here that by building partnerships across society and the economy we can create decent, sustainable jobs now and for the future."

This is the first time the ITF Congress, 14-20 October 2018, will be held in Southeast Asia in its 122-year history.

The ITF-OTCi agreement will be unveiled at the opening ceremony. Members of the media are invited to attend the opening ceremony and evening reception on Sunday, 14 October. If you wish to attend, you must register by 10 October 2018 via the link:


Further information:

What is the ITF?
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) creates borderless solidarity among transport workers around the world. We support 670 affiliate trade unions in 140 countries, representing 19.7 million workers.

What is the ITF Congress?
Congress is the ITF’s decision-making event, at which its affiliated trade unions decide the course of the federation for the next five years. It elects the ITF’s executive board, president, vice presidents and general secretary. Nearly 2000 people will attend the 44th ITF Congress in Singapore, 14-20 October 2018.

Five transport unions from Singapore make up the SNCC, which is assisting the ITF in organising the Congress: National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU), Port Officers' Union (POU), Singapore Maritime Officers' Union (SMOU), Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS) and the Singapore Port Workers' Union (SPWU).

The ITF 44th Congress will include participants from around 140 countries, representing over 600 transport unions with more than 19 million members. This Congress is set to be the biggest to date, with over 2,000 participants. It aims to give transport workers a collective voice and set the agenda for the transport industry for the next five years.

What is happening at Congress?
Check the Congress website:

Who is the media contact?
Andy Khan-Gordon, ITF communications officer. Call / SMS / WhatsApp: +44 7711 356 964. Email:

What is the OTCi?
Founded in 1990, the institute is an established centre for labour education and training in Singapore. Programmes ranging from short courses to certificate and up to professional diploma courses are available for trade union leaders, labour-management groups and others interested in the industrial and employment relations field: 

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