Urban transport workers battle privatisation

10 Oct 2013

Eighty trade union leaders representing urban transport workers from twenty seven countries met last week in Tokyo for the ITF’s first urban transport committee meeting in the Asia/Pacific region. They vowed to develop transport policy, tackle the anti-union behaviour of global multinationals, oppose liberalisation of public transport industries, organise informal transport workers and stand up for the rights of transport workers in the Philippines.

Delegates agreed that unions must tackle the neo-liberal agenda set by many governments globally by developing their own transport policies. They also decided that the anti-union behaviour of French multinationals like Veolia, Keolis and RATP must be tackled through collaborative action with home country unions – and successes against UK multinationals gave a useful blueprint for how this can be done.

Attendees showed solidarity with British affiliate the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) against urban sector funding and staff cuts, and with Korean transport workers against further railway privatisation, by unanimously adopting resolutions to support both unions.

Further decisions were taken to research and map the presence of bus rapid transit systems, and make contact with workers in water transport.

Attendees strongly backed the ITF/LabourStart Justice for Dodong campaign against extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, and expressed support for the ITF’s forthcoming Our public transport campaign. Areas of cooperation with the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) will be investigated, and ITF climate change policy used as leverage.

The delegates also paid tribute to Dr June Fisher, for her life-long work to improve health and safety issues, particularly for US transit operators.

Mac Urata, inland transport section secretary commented: “We had fruitful discussions to plan and structure the activities of this joint committee in 2014 but also to prepare our debate at the coming Congress next year to launch the Our public transport campaign which will put people before profit.”