Get ME home safely: Unions demand safe commuting for women transport workers

8 Mar 2023

Get ME home safely: ETF and transport unions across Europe advocate for safe commuting as a political, employer, and local community obligation.

On International Women’s Day, March 8, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) emphasises the critical need for safe commuting, particularly for women who work night shifts against the backdrop of rising violence and harassment against women transport workers. 

An ETF survey of over 1,000 women transport workers in Europe (2017) revealed 63% had experienced at least one recent act of violence, with 26% not reporting the problem because they believe harassment is part of the job, including their commute to work.

A pre-pandemic survey of over 3,000 women in transport identified high levels of violence and harassment as one of the barriers keeping women out of the transport industry, which already suffers from severe labour shortages due to poor working conditions and an ageing workforce. According to statistics, women make up only about 22% of transport workers in Europe.

ETF gathered stories from women transport workers across Europe for the campaign’s launch, revealing the behind-the-scenes: What happens when their shift starts early? How do they get home after a long day at work?



To address these concerns, ETF advocates for safe commuting to work for transport workers to become a political, employer, and local community obligation. We specifically make the following demands:

Ensuring safe commuting is a political obligation:

  • Ratify ILO C190 concerning Violence and Harassment in the World of Work and implement the provisions in national law.
  • Make (gender-based) workplace risk assessment compulsory for commuting to work.

Safe commuting is an employer’s obligation:

  •  Include commuting to work in the workplace risk assessment.
  • Apply a gender-based risk assessment, including individual journeys to work and “inner company commuting”.
  • Monitor violence and aggression at the workplace, including during commuting, and provide gender-segregated data.
  • Provide safe solutions in the absence of public transport, negotiated with the trade unions.

Safe commuting must be a local community obligation:

  • Provide safe, accessible, affordable public transport for commuting workers at night.
  •  Negotiate solutions between employers, trade unions, and the community.
  • Apply a gender perspective in the planning and design of the city.
  • Include women workers’ concerns in the infrastructure design and planning of open space, public transport infrastructure, safe parking areas, public lighting, and technical support.

The ETF’s transport unions will take these demands up nationally in their home countries beginning today as part of the “Get ME home safely” campaign.

“On this International Women’s Day, we urge policymakers, employers, and local communities to ensure that women transport workers can safely commute to and from work,” said ETF Deputy General Secretary Sabine Trier.

“We must address this issue immediately because a lack of safe commuting options is not only a violation of women’s rights but also a significant barrier to attracting and retaining women in the transport industry. We will continue collaborating with our partners, stakeholders, and policymakers to ensure safe working conditions for all transport workers, particularly women.”

ETF is committed to supporting and empowering women in the transport industry. As the voices of transport workers across Europe, we recognise the importance of gender equality and diversity in the workplace. We will continue to advocate for a safe and inclusive working environment for all.

– ENDS –


ETF “Get ME home safely” campaign launch video: Testimonials of women transport workers

ETF “Get ME home safely” campaign page

ETF “Get ME home safely” leaflet

About the ETF

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.

The ETF is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.