Safe and sustainable rail can help power the world out of the economic, climate and social crises we face today. Safe and sustainable rail is a new economic and social model for the industry that redefines the role of passengers, workers, employers, and the state.
Railways are a key public service and an increasingly important part of supply chains. As one of the cleanest modes of transport, the key issue for the sector is ensuring workers are not left behind as investment in the sector grows.
The global call for safe and sustainable rail has 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. Together with our affiliates, we are working to ensure representation of young and women workers, ending gender segregation, tackling violence and harassment and promoting equality.
The ITF railway workers’ section brings together affiliated unions from around the world defend jobs and promote safety for all. Following the restructuring of railway systems, our united focus is on:
- responding to the impact of changing jobs, working conditions and trade union rights
- promoting railway safety and organising railway workers across the industry
- advocating for public investment in the development of railways to ensure decent working conditions and permanent work
- building union capacity for negotiating with employers, governments and international institutions
The ITF has a vision for Safe and Sustainable Railways for All.
- Safety - Railways that are properly staffed are safer, whether that’s at the station, on the train, or in other essential areas like maintenance and repairs.
- Accessibility - Railways that are properly staffed are not only safer but are also more accessible for those with mobility issues, including older people and people with disabilities.
- Sustainability - Train travel is one of the most environmentally efficient modes of transport. Investment in rail infrastructure including trains that use clean energy is essential for tackling climate change. Rail workers must have a say in the introduction of new technology and be protected through a just transition.
- Public Ownership - Railways should be publicly owned and accountable. The primary interest of private operators is profit, not the social good.
More in depth Q and A (9-page) explainer on why the world need a TRIPS waiver now, and why a TRIPS waiver is important for transport unions.
Short Q and A (2-page) explainer on the TRIPS waiver and why it matters to transport workers. Help us tell big pharma and governments to stop hoarding vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.
The ITF Railways Section has 141 affiliates from 83 countries representing over 1,750,000 workers.