Message from ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton
I am proud to be the general secretary of an organisation that represents transport workers at this time of need. The outbreak and spread of Covid-19 has once again served to highlight just how reliant humanity and global supply chains are on transport workers keeping the world moving.
Transport workers are often the unseen heroes, who are not always recognised for the sacrifices they make. But this crisis has shown the incredible contribution our members are making in the fight against Covid-19 around the world.
Transport workers are the lifeblood of a global economy linking supply chains and keeping the world moving, and vital to successfully responding to the challenge of Covid-19.
We must also recognise the risk that transport workers face on the frontlines. For many of our members the public need is often put before their own personal safety and, at times, their families.
Without this dedication, we would see workers, including doctors and nurses, struggling to get to work, supply chains failing, and passengers stranded across the globe.
Yet, when I talk to a flight attendant, a bus driver or a docker, I find it incredible humbling that the last thing that ever gets mentioned is themselves and their needs. Their focus is on getting the job done and ensuring that all our lives can continue in the best way possible.
For many families and communities, I know that there is genuine concern for their loved ones working in the transport sector. This is only natural, especially as governments around the world have ordered lockdowns and advised people to remain indoors.
But I want to reassure you that the ITF and its affiliates are committed to ensure that we do everything possible to protect our workers, their families, and shine a light on the contribution so many transport workers are making.
It shouldn’t matter whether you are a seafarer or aviation worker, bus driver or tourism worker, your right to return home safely has to be the priority. This is an incredibly important issue as our members try to keep the global economy moving.
I remind every member of our community to stop and think about how the food in grocery stores and the medicine in pharmacies got there. Think about the other transport workers who now need your support given the uncertain future they face given the huge challenges that the tourism and aviation sectors face in the near future. Consider the thousands of jobs and communities that rely of these vitally important sectors.
I hope that you come to the same conclusions as I do. The world’s transport workers deserve the same commitment and support as everyone of us who are reliant on them to get us through this pandemic. It’s time for us to ask not what transport workers do for us, but what we can do for them.
In unity and solidarity,
ITF General Secretary