Social dialogue in UPT: our achievements

29 May 2019

The urban public transport (UPT) social partners, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), work together to promote the use of public transport, to improve conditions for urban public transport workers, and to strengthen women’s representation in UPT. Over the years, we’ve developed a number of joint statements, recommendations and positions. Here you can find an overview of the outcomes and achievements we’ve reached within social dialogue in UPT.

Joint recommendations on tackling insecurity on urban public transport (2020)

In 2020, the ETF and UITP updated their joint recommendations from 2003 on agression and insecurity in urban public transport. The updated Joint Recommendations for Combating Violence and Insecurity on Urban Public Transport from 2020 focus on third-party violence as well as internal violence. In addition, the text refers to the European inter-professional Social Partners’ Framework Agreement on harassment and violence at work (signed 2007) and builds on the international Joint Recommendations by ITF and UITP (2015).

Digital transformation and social dialogue in urban public transport in Europe (2019-2020)

The ETF and UITP collaborate to understand better current digital trends in urban public transport. A new Social Partners’ project has been launched with the aim to understand better digital transformation processes and how it impacts UPT operations, maintenance, HR, and customer services. The project runs from 2019 until 2020 and addresses the impact of digitalisation on employment, working conditions, required tasks at work as well as workers’ skills. Besides, the project address how social partners can shape technological changes through social dialogue. It aims at developing a common strategy towards decision makers as well as joint recommendations to shape digital transformation in UPT through social dialogue.

CEE Project: Social dialogue in Central and Eastern European countries (December 2017 – May 2019)

ETF and UITP agreed to support social dialogue in Central and Eastern Europe, and we focused on strengthening social dialogue capacity in the region. Through joint seminars, we facilitated an exchange of views, experiences and information between experts and social partners in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia. Read our short reports from the Dialogue can shape the future of Urban Public Transport” workshops which we organised in Warsaw, Prague, and Sofia.

WISE II Project: Women‘s Employment and Gender Policy in Urban Public Transport Companies in Europe (2016)

WISE II was ETF and UITP’s follow-up project to WISE I. Our aim was promote the implementation of our Joint Recommendations on Strengthening Women’s Employment in Urban Public Transport from 2014. WISE II looked into the quantitative evolution of women’s employment in Europe in the UPT sector, giving an overview on the European legal framework around equal opportunities. Most importantly, it gathered strategies and examples of company and trade union activities to promote women’s employment.

Joint statement on sustainable urban mobility (2016)

In 2016, together with the employers’ association UITP, we called on the EU Institutions to make the development of sustainable urban mobility a priority and to support the modal shift towards cleaner, more efficient, safer, public mass transportation. We think that public transport should be an integral part of any urban development agenda and that local authorities should be empowered to successfully carry out integrated urban strategies that cover public transportation but also housing, education, culture, tourism and employment policies. We wanted to emphasise the responsibility of all levels of government, including the European level, to ensure quality in public transport and thus quality working conditions.

Joint study of social conditions in urban public transport companies in Europe (2015)

In 2015, UITP and ETF carried out a joint study on working conditions in UPT companies in Europe. The resulting report contains a comprehensive summary of how the UPT sector is organised in different European countries, including the legal framework underpinning the market. It gathers information on how employment conditions are regulated and the role of collective bargaining agreements at national, sectoral, regional or company level. It also focuses on the influence of legislation and collective bargaining on salaries and working conditions.

Joint recommendations on women’s employment in UPT (2014)

Following the WISE 1 project of 2011-2012, the ETF and the UITP agreed that a stronger presence of women workers in the urban public transport sector is needed. At the time of signing the joint recommendations, the share of women in UPT was 17.5%. The social partners set an aim of 25 % by 2020, with the view to have at least 40 % women workers by 2035. We had a common vision that the attractiveness of the sector must improve in order to attract women and to retain them. Indeed, studies show that a gender-balanced work environment benefits all workers.

These recommendations are divided into 7 areas:

  • Recruitment policy
  • Qualifications, training and career opportunities
  • Work-life balance (reconciliation of work and social life)
  • Health and safety at work
  • Equality in wages
  • Working culture and gender stereotypes
  • Corporate policy

Each area contains measures and tips to improve working conditions and the wellbeing of workers in that particular area. Furthermore, social partners commited to monitoring the implementation of the joint recommendations on a regular basis.

Joint declaration on training urban bus drivers (2014)

In 2014, we stood with UITP in a joint declaration calling for continuous training of professional bus drivers in UPT. In our declaration, we explained the possible implications, application and further development of Directive 2003/59/EC on the training of professional drivers in road transport.

Joint statement with the IRU on sustainable taxis (2014)

Alongside the UITP, we have another social partner in urban public transport – the International Road Union (IRU). In November 2014, ETF and the IRU denounced the unfair business practices of Uber and similar platforms. We called on decision makers to act, as we were concerned about unfair competition in intra-city mobility markets. Platforms that offer ride-sharing avoid paying taxes and social security, and thus destroy the fair and efficient functioning of entire segments of the public transport market. This could have potentially disastrous consequences on mobility, passenger safety, legal jobs, decent work and social conditions.

WISE I Project: Women’s employment in urban public transport (2011)

WISE I was the first joint project of UITP and ETF. It dealt with women’s employment and gender equality in European public transport companies, associations and trade unions. The project report, published in 2011, was the first Europe-wide comparative study on women’s employment in public transport. The report also focuses on issues that could improve the gender balance in the sector, such as reconciliation of work and family life, health and safety at the workplace, training, recruitment and wage equality.

Report on the implementation of joint recommendations on insecurity in urban public transport (2011)

In 2011, we published a report where we assessed the implementation of  our 2003 joint recommendations from 2003 on tackling third party violence in urban public transport. The report showed that the majority of public transport companies implemented several measures in the fields of human resources, recovery and technology to tackle insecurity and feeling of insecurity of its employees. Furthermore, the report mentions that many trade unions focus on awareness raising and communicate actively with staff members to learn about their experiences with aggressions at work.

Joint recommendations on insecurity in urban public transport (2003)

In 2003, together with UPT social partners, we came up with joint recommendations to tackle third party violence in urban public transport. We looked into the issue of insecurity and the feeling of insecurity in UPT and agreed on several long-term measures. Iimplementing these can bring a positive change for both employees and companies.