#WeAreITF: End of year messages from ITF president and general secretary

December 30, 2019

As we enter a new decade, ITF president Paddy Crumlin and general secretary Steve Cotton reflect on 2019 and commit to driving and delivering social, economic and environmental justice throughout the world, and for transport workers globally.

Message from ITF president Paddy Crumlin

So it’s greetings from Union Central, Union Central is all over the world with the ITF. I’m in Sydney, Steve’s in London and you guys, working men and women, are everywhere.

But we’ve got the same challenges – we’ve got massive political challenges, in North America, in South America, in Europe. We’ve seen the collapse of social democracy in terms of social justice.

But we’re the genuine article. We’re the ITF. We fight from the front, on behalf of 20 million international transport workers. It doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter your gender, your race, your age.

We’re here celebrating with you our capacity to make a difference. And we’re the voice! The voice of action, reasonableness, redistribution and social justice.

We’re the supply chain union. We’re the lifeblood of the international economy and we know it. And we’re not afraid to take on hard disputes, and we’re not afraid to also reach agreement.

We are the international voice of transport workers and we won’t be denied.

We’re a work class movement, we’re a movement of international working men and women that want to make a difference in their own lives, in their families’ lives and the only way we can do that is cooperate internationally.

If we stick together, we talk and think as a collective, we’ll challenge their agenda. We’ll build a world, not that’s going to overheat, not that’s going to take things away, jobs and opportunities, not that’s going to destroy our environment and our cities and communities, but we’ll build on it.

That’s worth celebrating – and that’s what we do at this time of year. Regardless of your religion – that’s what we do. This is a punctuation of self belief, determination and self confirmation that we’re all in this together.

Have a good season, let’s go forward together. Fight from the front, brothers and sisters!

Message from ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton

We came out of Singapore ready to fire, and we’ve been working on our three core issues: membership growth – and the numbers are up throughout the world – campaigning and organising.

It’s utterly critical that the work we’re doing challenges the establishment about platform employees. It’s critical – our young workers are driving that campaign with a view to make sure we all deserve decent work.

Our seafarers are campaigning for the young men and women of the cadets of the world, publicising the quality of their career and giving them big opportunities.

Our brothers and sisters in the Dockers section – never stop fighting, taking on the multinationals that are trying to privatise and automate their ports.

Let’s talk campaigns – the ITF has been doing innovative and creative campaigns throughout the world, in particular, global supply chain – driving standards across all of our sectors.

The ITF Women’s team again have had an amazing year, the sanitation campaign has reached all the corners of the world and had massive take up in campaigning elements.

Our Public Transport – we’ve been building our representation in Bus Rapid Transit. We’ve been all over the world, but in particular Africa and Asia where we put new projects on the ground and organising people.

Also delivering our third pillar, giving global, national and regional policy to defend workers. We had a big year in the ILO – we got Convention 190 adopted in June. This is a convention that stops harassment and bullying in the workplace, and is a major step forward for not just transport workers but all workers.

We are reversing the race to the bottom in our road transport, we’re coming up with new due diligence models, auditing and holding the economic employer to account for the responsibility to workers in the sector.

As always, we’ve had to repel governments trying to privatise rail, in particular in India and other places where we’ve had to use all of our power and influence to defend our brothers and sisters in the rail sector.

Our Civil Aviation team represented all of the sub sectors in aviation fighting for better safety regulations at the ICAO assembly.
So looking forward – we’ve had a big year but we’re going to have an even bigger year in 2020.

We started to formulate our strategy around the future of work, we’re engaging with all sectors, we’re building an implementation plan and we ultimately hope to fight and defend our workers’ rights in the changing face of technology.

The Executive Board made a big decision about sustainable transport, we cannot stand back and watch the climate crisis developing around the world, we need to make sure that transport is a responsible player in this arena.

In closing, it’s time to thank you all! The ITF is an amazing global union federation, but it wouldn’t be possible without all the affiliates and all the hard work that you put in.

But it’s not just affiliates – I want to put on record my thanks to the whole of our team, the regional offices, the London team – everybody who’s worked tirelessly in 2019 to deliver a better life for transport workers. Thank you all.

I just want to give you all a personal Happy New Year, have a prosperous, successful 2020!

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