Unions for urban transport workers in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia have joined forces at a workshop in Tunis to discuss how to work together under the Our Public Transport programme.
Activists from the FNTT, UMT and UGTT shared updates on the current situation of public transport in Algiers, Casablanca and Tunis. All the cities have extensive rail, tram, bus and metro systems, plus cable car and ferry in Algiers.
There has been a growth in passenger numbers in recent years, but this has not kept up the expansion of private car use.
One of the issues faced by workers in all the countries is a lack of investment in public transport infrastructure and old vehicles.
A key issue for all workers is health and safety. Some bus fleets are made up of second-hand buses imported from Europe, but the maintenance and supply of spare parts for these vehicles can be difficult. Furthermore, the old buses have a negative impact on the health of workers as well as the local environment.
The unions are also dealing with the impact of new technology, with more passengers using apps for live bus and train schedules. Some of the unions reported that they have been working with taxi unions and associations of drivers, as well as drivers for app-based transport companies.
The unions will continue to work together in the region to strengthen union solidarity, and develop strategies for integrated public transport in Algiers, Casablanca and Tunis.