ETF to Vălean: “Transport Workers must be taken seriously!”

14 Nov 2019

Thursday, November 14, 2019 – Brussels

While the fate of millions of transport workers hung in the balance these past few months, in the pursuit of a new Transport Commissioner, ETF closely followed developments and has finally witnessed the conclusion to a laborious search. Ursula von der Leyen has appointed Violeta Bulc’s successor and the European Commission for 2019-2024 is set to have Ms. Adina Vălean as Transport Commissioner.

Commenting on behalf of The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), representing over 5 million transport workers from more than 200 transport unions and 41 European countries, was Livia Spera, General Secretary of ETF:

 We followed the hearing closely and we welcome Vălean’s remark on the need to streamline workers’ needs into transport policies and to look at sustainability as a whole and not by blocks.

She showed awareness of the structural social problems affecting the sector. However, when answering the MEPs’ questions, the plans she presented were quite vague. Whilst Ms. von der Leyen’s initial mission letter overlooked the social dimension of the transport sector, we expect Ms. Vălean to take this very seriously. Millions of workers across Europe are calling for action. It is time for change and change must come now!”

On March 27, thousands of workers from all EU countries mobilised and marched through the streets of Brussels asking for concrete measures to stop social dumping and improve working conditions in all transport modes and ETF is committed to making sure that these requests did not fall on deaf ears.

ETF will be closely watching Ms. Vălean and her commitment to transport workers. As soon as she takes her seat at the European Commission, our first order of business is to discuss how to fully apply EU labour standards to transport workers and ensure their complete social protection.

We plan to exchange on ways to effectively address social dumping practices, guarantee job security and improve attractiveness through the enhancement of working conditions and measures to address the casualisation and flexibility of work in all transport modes.

Frank Moreels, ETF’s president commented,

Ms. Adina Vălean needs to live up to the expectations of the eleven million transport workers who want a positive change to keep on moving Europe forward in a fairer manner. As she admitted during the hearing,  transport workers make Europe move! Without them, we would be at a standstill. Yet, they are paying the price and this needs to stop!

During the hearing, Ms. Vălean admitted that shortage of workers in some transport modes is due to poor working conditions. So we know where the problem is, now let’s act. We have put forward 8 concrete and constructive proposals, but there needs to be a strong political will to make them reality.  Among them, we need to focus on better jobs in transport, for instance by fighting the sources of precariousness and bogus self-employment. We all know that liberalisations and privatisations have contributed to pushing down transport rates: we need to act to get rid of the low-cost model in both passenger and freight transport if we want to make the sector more socially and environmentally sustainable.

Ms. Vălean has transport workers’ fate in her hands and she must make the best possible use of her mandate by making transport in Europe fair for workers!” 

Last but not least, and given Ms. Vălean’s experience as former Chair of the EP Environment Committee, ETF will be keeping an eye on how the newly appointed Transport Commissioner intends to achieve the social and environmental sustainability of the transport sector. This will be an important element of the European Green Deal to which we also aspire, provided it is based on the principle of a just transition for all transport workers.

For more information, please contact Begüm Boynukalin, e-mail:, tel. +32 4 78 794 053.


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