The European Transport Workers’ Federation warns against opening the EU labour market to third-country nationals without first fixing the lack of decent work in the transport industry. To do so otherwise is an open invitation for further exploitation of transport workers.
After a summer filled with strike action with transport workers protesting against substandard working terms and conditions, last week’s State of the Union Speech alarmingly ignores these workers and their demands. Instead of a solution to fix the root problem of the industry: poor working conditions, it proposes opening the EU labour market to third-country nationals in response to growing labour shortages in the EU.
In a letter to von der Leyen, ETF General Secretary Livia Spera urges the EU leader to develop legislation and policies to improve working conditions and fix the EU’s transport industry, underlining that this is the only way to solve labour shortages.
Promoting collective bargaining through tools – such as the Minimum Wage Directive and the European Pillar of Social Rights should be assessed, as collective bargaining remains, and will always remain, one of the most effective ways to improve labour terms and conditions.
The ETF reminds the European Commission Leader that the industry’s current crisis state is due to the consequences of profit-led policies and political choices focused solely on competition and liberalisation, which have undermined labour terms and conditions throughout transport – these crises began in maritime transport, worked through road and urban public transport and have reached aviation.
“Trying to fill the gaping hole of decent jobs in transport with third-country workers is not the solution here. The only thing this will achieve is increasing the number of exploited workers.
Exploitation and conditions bordering on modern slavery – especially for third-country nationals are the reality of today’s transport industry.
The EU needs to fix working conditions. Proposing any other solution is just careless.”, commented ETF General Secretary Livia Spera.
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ETF’s letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen can be consulted here and at your right.