UTP social partners ETF & UITP discuss COVID-19 & implementation of social dialogue work programme

14 Sep 2020


The social partners in urban public transport, ETF and UITP, virtually came together last week to discuss issues affecting urban public transport workers, the impact of the pandemic and the implementation of their joint work programme.

On the impact of COVID-19 UITP highlighted the 85% reduction in patronage and staff’s high commitment to providing the required level of service.

ETF underlined that the pandemic has shown that public transport workers are key workers and that their role must be recognised by providing them with quality working conditions and safe employment. For the ETF, social dialogue is key to ensure workers’ rights.

Social partners discussed the implementation of the social dialogue work programme 2020 which revolves around 4 key points:

  • Digital transformation and social dialogue in the urban public transport sector in Europe

The ETF and UITP will present their final joint recommendations on digital transformation and social dialogue during an online event on 15 October which will be accompanied by a policy statement to political decisionmakers and authorities.

  • Joint recommendations “Strengthening women employment in the urban public transport” signed on 8th April 2014

The ETF and UITP both share the objective of increasing the employment of women in urban public transport. Currently, there is an ongoing survey to understand the latest developments in this area, but first findings reveal that there has not really been an increase. However, companies agree that attracting women to the sector is key and that concrete actions must be undertaken. The survey’s results will be finalised at the end of 2020 and it will include data on initiatives to boost women’s employment.

In January, ETF and UITP updated their previous joint recommendations and were due to discuss their implementation, but this has been postponed due to the pandemic. However, the ETF underlined that COVID-19 has brought new challenges on the topic of aggressions. This is becoming more and more urgent by the minute as there are increasing aggressions towards UPT workers due to safety measures and the enforcement of protective measures. For the ETF, it’s clear: transport workers’ safety is primordial and they must not be made to interfere when passengers do not follow the measures. Immediate action must be taken by companies to protect workers.

Lastly, DG MOVE joined the call to discuss the European Commission’s urban mobility package – the ETF and UITP both highlighted that the role of collective public transport must be more prominent in the Smart and Sustainable Transport Strategy. We expect the Commission to give stronger recognition to collective public transport as the backbone of sustainable mobility.