Urban public transport workers must be at the core of EU Urban Mobility Framework

14 Jun 2021

The European Commission will launch later this year its new urban mobility framework initiative to help the EU build on its 2013 urban mobility package and meet its 2050 climate target. The initiative will propose measures to encourage EU countries to develop urban transport systems that are safe, accessible, inclusive, affordable, smart, resilient and emission-free.

While we welcome the objective to increase the share of sustainable transport modes; for the ETF, it’s clear that the transport workers of urban mobility must be at the core of this framework if the EU is to meet climate objectives.

This means putting in the same level of effort to achieve social sustainability as to achieve environmental sustainability. The only way to ensure this is compulsory consultation of trade unions and civil society.

While the ETF is now actively participating in the current public consultation period, in its feedback on the roadmap, the following points were highlighted as essential:

For the ETF, is it fundamental that public transport stays in public hands.

Turning to privatisation will only worsen the demographic problem caused by poor working where the average age of staff is high and female employment is low.

With an increasing number of services being tendered to private companies with price being the deciding factor, the workers experience a downward pressure on their salaries and workload in order to maximise profits; proving the importance of ensuring public transport is always in public hands.

Though recent developments have seen the introduction of new mobility services – Mobility-as-a-Service platforms – the EU must remember that public transport must be treated as a public good and not as any other service that can simply be privatised.

In the same vein, the ETF would like to see a focus on fostering the principle of “collective transport first” to avoid situations where public transport is replaced by ride-sharing or ride-hailing services.

Meaning that while funding and binding targets are essential to double the use of collective transport; they must come with social conditionality – obligatory collective bargaining, and respect for applicable working and employment conditions under relevant collective bargaining agreements, and laws.

Therefore, the EU Commission must provide a clear framework stating that only service providers that respect social conditions can be included in the intermodal urban transport systems.

ETF’s full feedback to the Roadmap for the EU Urban Mobility Framework can be found here.