Boosting rail freight transport will be a key factor in the modal shift and achieving the climate goals set out in the European Green Deal. The ETF recognises that the introduction of a Europe-wide coupling system to strengthen the efficiency of rail freight transport will be part of these initiatives. But ETF insists that this path to digitalisation must be part of a more ambitious rail freight policy.
Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) in European Rail Freight will, on the one hand, increase the safety of employees, but on the other negatively impact employment and lead to job losses. For the ETF, the introduction of new technologies cannot just be a means to increase efficiency but must be also part of a more ambitious rail transport policy that will ensure job security, and lead to quality employment and working conditions.
From the very beginning, workers and their representative unions must be involved in the discussions on the why, when and how of the implementation of any technological change. Moreover, as part of plans to invest in DAC, a realistic job perspective for employees must already be developed now for sustainable employment opportunities, reskilling, upskilling and to ensure that no worker is left behind.
The ETF lays out key demands to guarantee just transition and health and safety in DAC initiatives – the position paper is available here.