Preparing the ETF for global changes in transport

14 Dec 2022

It is essential to know the impact of different foreign direct investments (FDIs) in transport infrastructure, jobs, employment standards, working conditions, and the sector’s sustainability (financial, environmental, and social). Understanding the impact and effects of FDI allows unions and workers to secure and defend transport workers’ (and other workers’) rights, standards and conditions while safeguarding EU standards under the European Pillar of Social Rights.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a strategy launched by China in 2013 to develop transport infrastructures in 152 countries in Asia, Middle East, Europe, Latin America and Asia.

The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T)  is a planned network of roads, railways, airports, and water infrastructure in the European Union, aiming to connect all European regions and improve economic and territorial cohesion.

Both initiatives will impact the transport demand, infrastructure, and the EU internal market more than ever.

As part of the EU co-funded project “Preparing the ETF for Global Changes,” ETF aims to:

  • Promote knowledge acquisition by the ETF’s democratic leadership about the impact of global economic changes in transport, with a particular focus on BRI Initiative affecting different transport policies in the EU (such as TEN-T);
  • Strengthen the ETF leadership’s analytical skills given future strategic decisions on ETF strategies and its functioning in the framework of global economic changes, including ETF’s contribution to the Sectoral Social Dialogue.

ETF organised different seminars for its affiliates to find out more about Chinese FDI, as follows:

  • three top-level workshops for all the members of the ETF Executive Committee,
  • four steering meetings of ETF leadership to discuss strategies.

ETF also organised a seminar for its affiliates to learn more and discuss the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Together with experts, ETF examined the current situation of TEN-T in Europe, its impact on labour and changes due to recent geopolitical challenges. The programme included an interactive session in eight regional and/or sectoral working groups that came up with concrete proposals for further work of the ETF on TEN-T, including topics to be raised, expertise needed, finding allied stakeholders and the link between TEN-T and sustainable transport.

For the project’s final report, ETF Sections’ will choose a set of priorities for each transport mode, and an ETF position will be developed based on the outcomes of the following issues debated during the BRI seminars:

  • The consequences of Chinese interest in the European transport sector;
  • The impact of Chinese influence on EU transport policies in European countries, especially in European sub-regions;
  • Consequences of possible Chinese investments in the transport sector on transport workers, working conditions and social rights;
  • How these developments will influence the ownership of transport companies and infrastructures;
  • Possible adjustments of EU and Chinese transport policies.

“Preparing the ETF for Global Changes” project is developed with financial support from the European Union.