Fresh waves of transport strikes will hit Europe until workers secure decent pay

5 Oct 2022

Transport workers’ conditions are at an all-time low while the cost of living is at an all-time high, bringing a new wave of strikes in transport. Transport workers are determined to get their due: improved working conditions and fair pay to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

This week it’s rail and tube strikes in Belgium and the UK. Earlier strike actions this summer and in September hit Europe in its ports, aviation industry, railways and public transport. Upcoming strike action this October in France and the UK is already foreseen.

Rising cost of living, growing attacks on workers, and poor working conditions: transport workers are fed up and not giving up the fight anytime soon.

The refusal of companies to offer decent pay rises and improve conditions is not only causing workers to go on strike but also leading to the shortage of workers in the industry.

This shortage of workers, as the European Transport Workers’ Federation has repeated time and time again, is actually a shortage of decent work. But now, on top of this, there is a full-blown cost of living crisis.

Most transport workers were already underpaid – they have been asking for a pay rise for years.
Now, the cost of living has skyrocketed, but so have the profits of some transport companies, and workers are expected to meekly accept what they are given.

Governments and companies refuse to invest in workers and transport services and instead impose cost-cutting left and right, affecting workers and the safety and quality of services.

Transport workers are not only out there fighting for their jobs but also the future of the entire industry – it is in the collective interest of everyone that the industry provides good conditions because, without transport workers, all of the things we take for granted: delivery, getting to school, to work and much more would not exist.

ETF General Secretary Livia Spera commented:

“The transport industry is ablaze: workers will continue to go on strike and even leave the industry if they have to.

So, it’s not a problem of shortage of workers as many claim.

It’s a problem of companies disrespecting, exploiting and underpaying transport workers.

The only solution is to engage with workers’ unions in constructive collective bargaining and provide jobs that allow workers to live, not merely survive.”

Strike action always comes as a last resort. When companies are willing to negotiate fairly with unions, they can be avoided.

The transport industry needs to work for its workers. Plain and simple. It’s time for the transport industry to wake up and engage employees’ representatives in constructive discussions. Until they do, our transport workers will keep on fighting.

– ENDS –


ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) organised a protest in Strasbourg on October 5 against the cost-of-living crisis and called for decisive action from the EU and national governments.

For more information, please contact:
Begüm Boynukalin, ETF Communications Officer
Mobile Phone: (+32) 478 79 40 53
Note to the editor:
The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) represents over 5 million transport workers from more than 200 transport unions across Europe, from the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Central and Eastern Europe, in over 30 countries.

ETF’s work is driven by its vision for Fair Transport: quality jobs with safe, reliable transport services for customers.