At the first meeting on September 16, representatives from France, Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Romania, Spain, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria and the UK met at the European Transport Workers’ Federation to prepare for the campaign which will focus on decent salaries and working conditions as well as social rights for transport workers in Europe.
Europe’s transport workers are working harder and faster for less money and in some sectors suffer inhumane conditions, the trade unionists agreed. In the absence of proper EU regulation and its enforcement at national level, cross border inequalities in wages and conditions are being exploited by unscrupulous employers - and lead to a downward spiral that’s bad for all.
The initiative, which is also supported by the ITF, is due to launch at the end of this month and plans to involve the collection of a million signatures from citizens across Europe, which should then make the European Commission take concrete action, such as drafting new legislation or closing loopholes in existing rules.
“Europe’s transport can’t come at the cost of treating its workers decently. Transport policy must go up the agenda. The free movement of goods and people must be accompanied by fair working conditions. This will be a wake-up call to the Commission,” said ETF President Lars Lindgren, of the Swedish Transport Workers Union.
Lindgren shares the leadership of the initiative with Jan Villadsen of the Danish union 3F.