Training trade union activists to influence public transport policy

22 Dec 2016

Politicians can decide how public transport is organised in a country, a region, a city. European legislation, the so-called PSO Regulation 1370/2007 (PSO – public service obligations) leaves it to the authorities to decide:

  • Whether to go for competition or to give a public transport contract to a government (municipal) operator.
  • Whether to impose social criteria and standards in particular when going for competition in the form of competitive tendering.
  • Whether to impose a transfer of staff when there is a change of operator.
  • Trade unions have to get politically involved to influence such decisions at the right moment. We have to train our local representatives to act locally.

To help its affiliates, the ETF produced a tutorial for trade union activists. The kit included training material for three training sessions, which

  • Explain the need for trade unions to be proactive in anticipating changes.
  • Explain the European legal framework for public transport, focusing on elements relevant for trade union activities: how to influence the decision on how local public transport is organised (by a municipal owned company or through competitive tendering) and – in case of competition – how to ensure workers’ protection in the case of change of operator and social standards.
  • Identify new actors and partners for unions relevant in this context: local authorities, local decision makers.
  • Make suggestions and gives examples of how to analyse the own national and local public transport market by the unions themselves, how and where to collect information.
  • Suggest a method to develop a trade union strategy (Road Map) including a check list for trade unions.

ATTENTION: In December 2016 this regulation was amended to further liberalise rail public passenger transport (Regulation (EU) 2016/2338). An up-date of the guide is in preparation but those changes do not affect urban public transport.

(This project received funding from the European Commission)