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Safe Rates summit: regulating for road safety and decent work will save lives

27 Jun 2021
Join the International Safe Rates Summit (30 June - 1 July): let’s save lives and improve pay and conditions across road transport.

The global campaign for ‘Safe Rates’ continues to reveal that improving and standardising transport workers’ rates of pay and better regulation of their working environment cuts the number of road accidents. At the same time, it gives drivers a safe, decent working life.

On 30 June – 1 July, the ITF will co-host the International Safe Rates Summit together with key affiliated unions. The Summit will bring together union, government and employer representatives to discuss solutions to improve road safety and working conditions in the road transport industry.

Each year, over 1.3 million people lose their lives in road traffic crashes, with a disproportionate number of these deaths linked to commercial transport. For example, half of the deaths on highways in South Korea are associated with truck crashes, and in Australia truck drivers themselves are killed at 15 times the average rate for all other occupations. In many countries, workers are forced to engage in dangerous driving practices, such as driving excessively long hours, overloading and speeding. This is caused by low rates of pay and unreasonable demands made by economic employers and transport companies.

At a time when Covid-19 has further eroded regulation in the industry, the summit aims to understand the root causes of the industry’s problems and find better solutions.

Unions, transport and logistics academics, and government and industry representatives will share research and experience of regulatory frameworks and compare efforts to protect workers and improve road safety in their countries. Participants will discuss avenues for tripartite collaboration to progress common goals, which will be framed by a presentation by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on international standards that will support the implementation of Safe Rates.  

Noel Coard, ITF Inland Transport Section Secretary, said that the Summit will be an opportunity for ITF affiliates globally to learn about and explore the main principles of Safe Rates, and how these are being applied in various countries including Korea, Australia and Brazil. 

"We can do better on road safety, and we know that decent wages and conditions in the industry are critical for saving lives in our communities. Safe Rates laws and agreements will not only will improve the safety of our roads but also protect the basic rights and dignity of road transport workers,” said Coard. “We invite all road transport workers and their unions to join us in building a safer and more sustainable industry. This Summit is an important step in that journey.”

Bongju Lee, KPTU-TruckSol President also reiterated the opportunity that the Summit present to unions to discuss the positive impact Safe Rates has had for workers and how the system can help unions build their capacity to improve their industry.

“Safe Rates saves lives. We must strongly remind governments, economic employers and transport companies to commit to the continuation and expansion of Safe Rates regulation to ensure stability, safety and sustainability in our industry,” said Lee.

Register for the summit now

The Safe Rates Summit - Regulating for Safety, Sustainability and Decent Work in the Road Transport Industry will take place virtually over 30 June and 1 July. See full programme here.

If you’d like to join us, click here to register.

The Summit will be co-hosted by the ITF, the Transport Workers’ Union of Australia (TWU), The Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union (KPTU), FIRST Union and Confederacao Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Transportes e Logistica (CNTTL).