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Tragic loss to our movement in Chile


The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is shocked and saddened to learn of the loss to the movement today of José Bonnin, Director of the Chilean rail union Federación Nacional de Transporte Ferroviario de Pasajeros, Carga, Afines y Conexas (FNTF).

Bonnin was killed in a tragic accident early this morning (June 20) when two trains collided head on. He was commanding a freight train carrying 1,346 tons of copper.  

Early reports are that a train undergoing a test run by Chile's state railway company (EFE) collided with a cargo train operated by private rail firm Fepasa.

Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary said: "On behalf of the whole of the ITF, I would like to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Jose’s wife and two daughters, and his comrades from FNTF in Chile. He was active in the ITF, and someone who I greatly admired for his commitment to the trade union movement. We can only hope that this tragedy will become the last death of a rail worker due to a lack of safety measures and pledge that ITF will continue to hold governments and rail companies accountable for breaches of workplace safety." 

Edgar Diaz, ITF Latin America and the Caribbean regional Secretary said: "It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the loss of our brother José Bonnin. José was part of the ITF family and always fought at union level to improve safety policies on the railways, so this tragedy will not be forgotten. We will fight together with our Chilean affiliate, the FNTF for better safety measures for rail workers and across all transport areas to avoid terrible accidents happening again in the country and in the region. The ITF and affiliates stand in solidarity with his family, friends and colleagues in the union."

David Gobé, ITF Railway Workers' Section Chair said: "Today we have lost one of our own comrades. This loss is a tragedy – but one that is made all the worse because ITF has been calling for safety on the railways to be fixed. It is workers that pay the price for corporate greed – in Jose’s case with his life. We will not rest until we see justice for his death, and all of the other deaths and injuries caused by greed."


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Notes: The ITF campaigns for improved levels of rail safety by governments and train operators. Our demands have four key pillars: safety, public ownership, sustainability and social justice. We believe railways should be publicly accountable and democratic, and that public ownership is key in achieving safe and sustainable rail.

Photo: Reuters