Tag Archives: ITF

ITF: In their memory we will build a safer, better and more peaceful world – ITF President Paddy Crumlin

ITF President Paddy Crumlin’s video message on #WorkersMemorialDay

Global: Organising for safer workplaces this International Workers’ Memorial Day | ITF Global #iwmd23

Unions remember workers lost to negligent employers and safety standards

Today, the 28th of April, marks International Workers’ Memorial Day, when trade unions around the world remember and mourn the loss of the colleagues, friends and family who never came home from work.

Most of these tragedies were preventable. Yet the negligence of employers and a lack of adequate occupational safety and health standards continue to kill and injure transport workers across the world.

In the past year, many transport workers have lost their lives in the workplace and millions more have suffered life-changing injuries and ill health, including:

  • Shocking reports that revealed that as many as 100,000 fishers were killed last year, in an industry where forced labour and human trafficking continue to be linked to fatalities.
  • Road transport remained the deadliest industry in many countries around the world, as truck drivers’ continue to be forced to take deadly risks to deliver goods at lower costs due to unsustainable rates of pay.
  • Tugboat workers’ safety continued to be put at risk from a lack of adequate safety standards, regulation and enforcement that can allow boats to operate for 50 years without a single inspection.

That’s why we fight to ensure workers’ have a seat at the table in setting occupational standards for safety and health in every transport sector.

International Workers’ Memorial Day is a day to mourn all the workers who have needlessly lost their lives to negligent employers. And it reminds us to organise so it doesn’t happen again.

We’re taking action today to honour the memories of colleagues and friends. Read on to see how you can take part.

This year’s theme: organising for health and safety – a crucial part of union action

In June 2022, unions secured the landmark decision from the International Labour Organization (ILO) to include ‘a safe and healthy working environment’ in its framework of fundamental principles and rights at work.

But words need action. This year, the ITF has outlined safety and health as the first priority in our annual report, and committed to keep working to put this right into practice.

These examples show our 2023 plans to be on front line of pushing for better health and safety standards:

  • We’ll continue to expose the impact of the poor working conditions on the mental health of young people working in public transport.
  • We’ll expand our call to #RatifyC190 so that countries everywhere commit to ending violence and harassment at work.
  • We’ll fight globally to support unions in winning Safe Rates for road transport workers.
  • We’ll keep organising migrant fishers to stand up for their safety and rights in Ireland, Thailand and the UK.
  • We’ll roll out ITF’s OSH Protocols for Safer Ports with more terminal operators and continue to campaign to improve waterfront safety standards and educate unions and dockers worldwide. Our unions are winning for their members in countries like New Zealand where deaths have scarred their communities.
  • We’ll be pushing for better international safety laws, guidelines and recommendations in international policy bodies, like the ILO Technical Meeting on aviation that’s happening this week in Geneva.
  • And we’ll continue to support our affiliates to fight for justice for the families, like the families of Troy Pearson and Charley Cragg, who have lost loved ones at the hands of negligent employers, including campaigning and lobbying for the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws.

Transport workers practise acts of health and safety with every shift, and often go far beyond. From the heroic tug crew Todd Dutton and Shaun Kirkpatrick who saved the life of a 14 year old girl from the torrents of the Fraser River, to the thousands of transport workers who support relief efforts of natural disasters, like the devastating earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria in February, and war zones from Palestine and Sudan to Ukraine and Yemen.

We look out for workmates in hazardous areas, spot each other when loading cargo, remind each other to ‘bend at the knees’, and are there for each other when the strain of the job is just too much for our body or mind.

Protecting workers’ lives, preventing injuries and demanding safe workplaces has always been at the heart of our movement – and always will.

We will keep fighting for safe and healthy workplaces – whether it’s securing freedom for abandoned seafarers, drawing up more safety agreements with airport operators, or campaigning to end gender-based violence in the workplace.

Organised workplaces are safer workplaces. That’s why we’ll continue to remember the dead, and fight hard for the living.

Attend an IWMD event near you

Today, workers around the world will be paying their respects to lost colleagues and friends. We invite you to attend an event, vigil or ceremony near you to honour their memories.

Use the 28 April global map to find an event near you.

Alternatively, attend a memorial event if your union is holding one.

Put your work boots out and share a photo on social media

Can’t attend an event in person? We’re also inviting you to put your work boots out in honour of workers who have died on the job.

Make sure to share a photo on social media with the hashtag #IWMD2023 to contribute to the record of remembrances on the day.

Celebrate the ILO’s decision to declare ‘a safe and healthy working environment’ as a fundamental right

On 28 April 2023, the ILO will celebrate the decision to include safe workplaces in its fundamental principles, bringing together experts and constituents to discuss the implications it has for the world of work, as well as how to practically implement this right in the world of work.

Join the ILO global dialogue on from 13:30 to 15:00 CEST: How can we promote the fundamental right to a safe and healthy working environment? 

To inform 28 April discussions, ILO has also produced a detailed report: ‘Implementing a safe and healthy working environment: Where are we now?’

Global: ITF invites you to put your work boots out on 28 April

“This #IWMD, we invite you to put your work boots out tomorrow in honour of those who have needlessly lost their lives on the job.
Jobs shouldn’t kill. That’s why we’ll keep holding negligent employers to account until every worker is safe at work.”

Global: On 28 April ITF says it is inexcusable that employers’ negligence costs lives

Global union ITF #iwmd23
Millions of workers never make it home from work every year. It is inexcusable that employers’ negligence costs lives.
Join us in honouring the memories of lost colleagues by finding an #IWMD23 event near you:
International Workers' Memorial Day:
Remember the dead,
Fight for the living.
Join an event near you.
28 April.

Global: Here’s how to fight for the living: let’s make occupational health and safety a fundamental right – ITF

On April 28th, International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD), the ITF remembers all those across the world killed at or around  their place of work.

The ITF supports the campaign led by the International Trade Union Confederation calling on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to recognise occupational health and safety as a fundamental right at work. This would fulfil a pledge made at the 2019 ILO Centenary Declaration, adopted unanimously, to ensure OSH for all workers.

#IWMD21 is especially poignant this year as it comes amid a devastating surge in global Covid-19 infections. Last week over 5.8 million new cases of Covid-19 were registered globally, the highest number to date. Many of these infections will have been caught at, or on the commute to or from, people’s workplaces.

But even before Covid-19, thousands of transport workers were vulnerable to injury or death in the workplace. The pandemic has simply exposed just how urgently occupational health and safety measures are needed.

“Every death at work is a death too many: the ILO, governments and employers must take greater action to halt preventable workplace deaths. Recognition of occupational health and safety as an ILO Fundamental Right at Work would be a strong step in the right direction.” – Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary

Governments and employers also have a responsibility to protect workers from violence and harassment in the workplace, which disproportionately impacts women workers. ITF affiliates, activists and Global Union Federations were instrumental in enacting global legislation against violence and harassment in the world of work.

ILO Convention 190, along with other recommendations, must be signed onto by government to protect all workers from violence and harassment at work including the commute.

ITF Global

Global: Remembering the transport workers who have lost their lives to Covid-19 – ITF Global

Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April 2020

ITF Global has set up an interactive online memorial to remember the transport workers who have lost their lives to Covid-19.

Raul Clarke

Bus Operator
Transport Workers’ Union (TWU)

Miguel Chumpitaz

Bus Operator
Transport Workers’ Union (TWU)

Hesronni Cayenne

Vice Chair, Structure Division
Transport Workers’ Union (TWU)

Alejandro Bustamante

School Bus Operator
Transport Workers’ Union (TWU)

Philip Dover

Bus Operator
Amalgamated Transit Union

Kimberly Henderson

Bus Operator
Amalgamated Transit Union

Dimitriy Bozohovskiy

Signal Maintainer
Transport Workers’ Union (TWU)

Bryson Kent Bowman

School Bus Operator
Transport Workers’ Union (TWU)

Steven Wiggins

Bus Operator
Amalgamated Transit Union

Mohammed Rahman

Bus Operator
Amalgamated Transit Union

Thomas David Biju

Transport Workers’ Union (TWU)

Henry Castro

Bus Operator
Amalgamated Transit Union

Samina Hameed

Bus Operator
Amalgamated Transit Union

Kendel Nelson

Bus Operator
Amalgamated Transit Union

LaLonee Gibbs

Bus Driver
Amalgamated Transit Union

Anthony J. Brown

Amalgamated Transit Union

Lucien Cedeau

Bus Operator
Amalgamated Transit Union

Fnu Pujiyoko

Norsk Sjømannsforbund (Norwegian Seafarers’ Union)

Dexter Joyosa

Norsk Sjømannsforbund (Norwegian Seafarers’ Union)

Asim Maqsood

General Secretary
Pakistan Airlines Cabin Crew Association

Global: Call on ships to sound horns to support “unsung heroes” | ITF Global

The International Chamber of Shipping and its global network of national member associations and the International Transport Workers’ Federation and its 215 seafarers’ unions are calling on seafarers across the world to sound their ships’ horns when in port at 12.00 local time on International Workers’ Day on 1 May 2020.

International Workers’ Day – or Workers’ Day, May Day or Labour Day – is recognised in many countries around the world to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution made by workers across the world.

The ICS and ITF are encouraging the gesture of solidarity to recognise over 1.6 million seafarers across the world, the unsung heroes of global trade, who are keeping countries supplied with food, fuel and important supplies such as vital medical equipment not only through the Covid-19 pandemic, but every day. Prior to engaging in blowing the horns ships should ensure that appropriate clearance is sought where required.

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping said, “Our seafarers are the unsung heroes of global trade and we must not forget the contribution that they are making every day to keep our countries supplied with the goods that we need. The sounding of a ships’ horn in ports on the day that the world recognises the contribution of workers is an ideal way to remind us all of their sacrifice. They are all Heroes at Sea.”

Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said, “The ITF welcomes this initiative and call on seafarers to sound their ships’ horns in a global expression of solidarity, but importantly to also ensure that the spotlight remains on how critical seafarers are to ensure that essential goods continue to be transported around the world during this crisis. Governments should see this as a call to action to facilitate crew changes and the free movement of seafarers so that they can continue to keep supply chains moving in these unprecedented times.”

Shipping plays a fundamental part in global supply chains, but the issue of crew changes is posing major threat to the safe operation of maritime trade. Due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, the industry has seen seafarers extending their time onboard ships after lengthy periods at sea. The current situation cannot last indefinitely for the safety and wellbeing of seafarers.

The ITF and ICS also repeated calls on governments to facilitate the free movement of seafarers, following on April 7, and a joint letter from ICS and International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Jointly, the ITF and ICS are calling on governments to:

  1. Designate a specific and limited number of  airports for the safe movement and repatriation of crew.
  2. Redefine seafarers as key workers providing essential services during the Covid-19 pandemic, lifting national restrictions designed for passengers and non-essential personnel.
  3. To deliver their commitment to keep supply chains open by taking urgent measures on the issue.

ICS and ITF have also produced letters of authorisation to help seafarers and authorities recognise the key worker status of transport workers operating with legitimate authority. Shipping companies can the use the facilitation letter template, copy the text on company headed paper, fill in the seafarer’s individual details and share the filled in certificate with each of their affected seafarers, provided they have undergone the required medical screening. The letter states “This facilitation letter certifies that this seafarer should be allowed free passage to travel between their home and their vessel and has participated in a medical screening.” The letter can be downloaded here.

For more information please contact:
ITF: media@itf.org.uk
ICS: ICS@woodrowcommunications.com


Global/Kenya: Podcast – The impact of Covid-19 on informal transport workers | ITF

In a special show about how the Covid-19 response is affecting working people in public transport, ITF urban transport director Alana Dave has spoken to Dan Mihadi.

Dan Mihadi is the general secretary of the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (TAWU), Kenya, and he explains how daily life has changed in Nairobi and the challenges face by informal and formal public transport workers in his union.

But he has hope for the future: “We are demanding that this crisis leads to public transport coming into public hands, providing decent jobs, and training. This is an opportunity to make things better for working people,” he said.

As part of the ITF’s Our Public Transport programme, a statement and set of demands has been published in response to Covid-19, and a joint statement with employers.


28 April: ITF Global – Covid19 map launched to support global seafarers

The ITF has launched a map showing the effect of Covid-19 restrictions on countries and ports around the globe.

Global: ITF – Canaries in the cargo hold: dockers and seafarers dying in confined spaces on the rise

Workers need a minimum of two things from the air in their workplace: that it’s safe to breathe and that it doesn’t explode and kill them.
Since January 2018, 16 dockers and 12 seafarers have died from asphyxiation or explosions in confined spaces – or from falls after passing out due to bad air. That’s a shocking spike in deaths in confined spaces, a workplace hazard long familiar to the shipping industry.

To put the recent deaths in perspective, there have been a total of 145 in the past 20 years, and alarmingly 28 in the past 16 months.

The massive rise in fatalities says everything about the callousness of those running the shipping industry today. Companies that choose to save a dollar rather than train and equip workers to labour safely in confined spaces or invest in an onboard safety culture in which workers are free to take the time they need to vent cargo holds, ensure sufficient good air or question a risk they are facing.

We know that maritime workers are generally aware of the risks associated with entry into confined spaces, but they may not be aware of the details and extent of the varied dangers posed by forest products, coal, iron ore, grains, gases and other cargo.

It is not enough for a worker to rely on opening the hatches for 30 minutes and hoping for the best, or to do the best they can to protect themselves on their own. It is not enough for workers to take all available precautions but sometimes still be caught without sufficient protection by pockets of gases and lack of oxygen. And it is absolutely not enough that workers are left to cope with an inhumane industry by doing what humans have always done for one other: risk their own lives to save their fallen colleagues.

Confined space fatalities 1999-2018. Source: Vistrato Limited 2018.

Last November, two dockers died while unloading logs from the hold of a bulker in Montevideo, likely after exposure to an unexpected fumigant they were not told about. A crew member saw them in distress and entered the hold wearing a face mask, determined to rescue them. During his efforts, his mask was reportedly removed, and he passed out, eventually landing in hospital in an induced coma. A third docker required medical help before the tragic incident was over.

Shipowners have a duty of care for their crew and dockers employed to carry out their cargo operations. Education and procedures are not optional. The negligence of shipowners who disregard standard procedures and cost workers their lives must be met with a punishment proportionate to the lives lost.

The International Maritime Solid Bulk (IMSB) Cargoes Code governs the carriage of bulk cargo worldwide. The IMSB code:
•    Identifies and groups cargoes based on hazard
•    Provides guidelines for safe handling
•    Sets procedures for testing

The ITF Dockers’ and ITF Seafarers’ sections will be at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) working with shipowners to ensure that the regulations governing confined space stand up and are strong enough to protect all maritime workers.

The ITF Dockers’ Section deplores operators who routinely force workers to choose between risking their lives or their jobs. We continue the fight against them and demand accountability.

We join our sisters and brothers from Australia and Canada and echo their call for industrial manslaughter laws for employers deliberately undermine safety a risk workers’ lives.

Kill a worker, go to jail!