Monday, November 12, 2012

Global Road and Rail Freight and Passenger Union Rights Under Review

International Transport Workers Federation Meet in Canada
Shipping News Feature

CANADA – WORLDWIDE – The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is meeting in downtown Toronto this week to set the global agenda for transportation worker union rights around the world, in the rail and road freight and passenger transportation sectors. The conference is to study and discuss issues like privatization, deregulation, logistics and supply chains on a global scale, and how they all impact workers’ lives and workers’ rights.

The event is being co-sponsored by the ITF and one of its member groups, the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) and will attract more than 200 delegates from 76 unions in 44 countries, as far away as Nepal and Palestine. The road and rail transportation conference delegates will be debating how to support trade union efforts in Iran, Turkey and Swaziland, as well as in Canada. Mac Urata, ITF inland transport sections secretary, commented:

"This event brings together road and railway trade unions from around the world with the message: ‘Transport unions fighting back - to build stronger unions and to protect workers' rights.’ Together we will examine what's happening in a sector under constant pressure to deregulate and privatise – with the negative results witnessed by road and rail users almost everywhere. From those shared experiences we will build new and innovative strategies – practical and political, on public transport and freight transport, right through the supply chain – for change, and, where necessary, for resistance."

The conference is being held at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto from 9am today and the first half of the week will focus on road transportation issues and from Wednesday the 14th November the focus will shift to both road and rail transportation whilst the final two days will focus primarily on issues surrounding rail issues. CAW Secretary-Treasurer and ITF executive board member Peter Kennedy, the only Canadian national on the ITF board, commented:

“Increasingly workers are being confronted by hostile global corporations that pit workers in one country against those in another. It is only through working together in a coordinated way that workers, and the unions that represent them, will have the power to make a difference and change our economic course. This conference is an important opportunity for collaboration across geographical lines.”

Photo: Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto.