ITF statement demands urgent protections for transport workers

Posted: 29 April 2020 |

The statement marked International Workers’ Memorial Day, where people across the world payed their respects to the workers who have lost their lives or have been injured at work, and the toll that the pandemic is having on the mental health of workers and their families globally.

ITF statement demands urgent protections for transport workers

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) Management Committee has released a statement on protecting workers during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

It stressed that the fight against the virus will not be won without transport workers, as they support the global economy and provide the vital services to those responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

“It is the train drivers, seafarers, cabin crew, taxi drivers, cleaners, ticket sellers, pilots, dockers, bus drivers, delivery riders, and all other working women and men who provide the vital services that are keeping global transport systems and supply chains functioning through the pandemic,” the statement read.

“Hundreds of transport workers across the world have lost their lives to COVID-19 globally after contracting the virus while working on the frontlines to provide vital services for our communities, and thousands more have been infected with the disease. Inadequate health and safety standards have increased the risk that transport workers face while continuing to work on the front lines of this crisis, a risk that has been borne disproportionately on women who are often over-represented in customer-focused and cleaning roles, and not supported as a minority in others,” it continued,

The statement called on governments and employers to “stop the pandemic” at work and better protect transport workers with adequate health and safety standards and personal protective equipment (PPE) to enable them to continue their work.

“Across the ITF we are campaigning for the urgent protection of our members globally. This week we will launch a global charter of demands for keeping public transport workers safe from COVID-19, which will be used to hold government authorities and employers accountable. Likewise, universal work site protocols will give dockers unions a concrete tool to put a line in the sand for what is required for global network terminal operators to protect dockers and all workers within the ports globally.

“We also are continuing to work collectively with our affiliates and social partners, including the ICS and the JNG, to find a solution for the 100,000 odd seafarers who are awaiting crew changes, to both safeguard their physical and mental wellbeing but ensure the safe transportation of vital goods. The collective approach extends to the work that the Road Transport Section is doing with IRU, the Civil Aviation Section is doing with IATA, and the Urban Transport Section is doing with UITP, UCLG and UIC, to harmonise effective action in a tripartite framework of accountability and responsibility together with the ILO, IMO and IATA to protect the safety of our members globally.”

The statement continued to call on transport workers to join the ITF. “Demand protection in your workplace. Demand it in your industry. Demand it from your government. Demand it for all transport workers.”