ETF September update


New waves of transport strikes I Strikes in the transport sector will continue to hit Europe until workers secure decent pay and decent work. Fair warning from the ETF, standing by our transport workers through it all. As the ETF GS, Livia Spera, pointed out: It’s a problem of companies disrespecting, exploiting, and underpaying transport workers.

Future of aviation I The voices of the aviation workers were listened to at our September Aviation Conference. For the 1st time in the post-COVID period, we gathered over 150 aviation workers in Brussels from all over Europe. They all asked for a secure and fair aviation industry for workers.

Decent work I In a letter sent to the EC President, Ursula von Der Leyen, ETF warned against opening the EU labour market to third-country nationals. ETF GS, Livia Spera asked the EU to fix the working conditions first, pointing out that EC proposing any other solution is careless.

ETF in Denmark I ETF President Frank Moreels and ETF GS, Livia Spera participated at 3F’s Congress. Livia Spera asked our Danish affiliate to take the lead on the fight against the far-right, as one thing is for sure: far-right parties have never been friends of workers and trade unions and will never be! With the similar involvement of all the democratic forces, we can build a fair future for our transport workers! And thank you to 3F for all their work.

A small delegation of the ETF Secretariat met with Irish MEP Ciarán Cuffe, the Transport and Tourism (TRAN) committee coordinator for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. Similarly, the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary met with MEP Elena Kountoura, the Transport and Tourism (TRAN) committee coordinator for The Left group in the European Parliament. At both meetings upcoming legislative files were discussed, including the Train Drivers Directive and the Air Service Regulation, in addition to discussions regarding further coordination and collaboration in response to the crisis within transport.



IMD 2022 I Celebrated on 29 September; International Maritime Day focused this year on new technologies for greener shipping. We stand united with ITF, IMOHQ and ILO for a sustainable shipping sector, where seafarers are at the core of decarbonisation in the Maritime Sector, and we plead for a Just transition.

Seafarers’ mental health Physical and mental health for seafarers on board is crucial, and risk factors should be anticipated by better understanding them. We concluded the successful September seminar by acknowledging that via a solid ECSA – ETF cooperation, we can provide targeted help to our seafarers.


CBER regulation under revision I ETF Dockers Section said NO to the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation and asked our dockers to speak up in the critical moment of the European Commission’s revision of the regulation. The unjustified privileges of shipowners must be abolished, and the EU should ensure true fair competition in the sector, as Niek Stam, the vice-chair of the ETF Dockers Section, explained here.

ETF Congress echoes I Check here how our Congress was seen by our affiliate FNV Havens. It is an excellent chance to get to know our leaders and understand how unionism works in the best interest of our workers and why ‘solidarity’ is defining our work and efforts to protect and preserve transport workers’ rights.

Building unionism I Under the EU co-funded CEE project, our Polish members from Solidarnosc had fruitful exchanges with experienced Verdi union leaders via a twinning visit to Hamburg port. It was an excellent opportunity to acquire powerful tools to help them face the challenges ahead.

In solidarity I With ITF, we fully supported the September actions of the Unite the Union dockers and other port workers in Liverpool in their fight for a decent pay deal.


Sustainable fisheries I As there is no fisheries sector without fishers, we warned of the enormous negative impact on the industry following the EC’s extreme measure to ban bottom-contacting fishing gears in certain areas of the Atlantic. It does not only brutally impact the fishers, but also gives a competitive advantage to countries still selling their products to the EU.



New European teaching materials for IWT I After almost four years of hard joint work under the COMPETING project, we delivered the 1st  European-wide recognised and modern curricula and teaching materials for the IWT sector.



Workshop | ETF took part in the European Commission workshop on the Train Drivers’ Directive – we underlined that the revision must focus on the safety of workers and passengers, referring to crucial points to achieve this. See our Position Paper

Employability in the Rail Sector in Light of Digitalisation and Automation | The ETF and CER EU social partner report explores how to maintain employability in the face of digital changes, with the human factor taking centre stage. Discover the final report here

Solidarity with rail workers on strike |
UK rail workers went on strike throughout September (and are continuing) to defend their jobs, pay and conditions – ETF expressed solidarity with our rail unions ASLEF, RMT and TSSA – they have all our support!

Italian rail workers went on strike to denounce attacks on staff with a clear demand for safety and security. Our unions Fit-Cisl, Filt Cgil, and Uiltrasporti have our full support.

Regional rail workers in the Netherlands went on strike for a better Collective Bargaining Agreement.

ETF met with MEP Ciaran Cuffe to discuss amongst other topics the Train Drivers’ Directive (TDD) and with the Commission’s DG Move Director for Land Transport, Kristian Schmidt to discuss the current state of rail and the effect of rail policies, as well as the TDD.



Parking lot visit | An ETF parking lot visit in Madrid confirmed the shortage of decent jobs, not drivers, with many examples of how Mobility Package rules are not being enforced and implemented. Read more

Freight and Bus & Coach Working Groups joint meeting |The ETF held meetings in Madrid to discuss the upcoming work of our working groups. Read more

European Commission | ETF met with the Commission’s DG Move Director for Land Transport, Kristian Schmidt to discuss the Commission guidance on posting of drivers in freight and passenger transport and the lack of enforcement regarding the Mobility Package.


ETF UPT Chair Dirk Schlomer took part in a Twitter Space with Green Peace to discuss how to achieve a fair and sustainable mobility system in Europe, underlining that public transport must be at the heart  of the system. You can listen to the full recording here.

ETF’s Head of Land Transport, Cristina Tilling took part in the European Commission’s Urban Mobility Days in Brno, speaking at the plenary session: Active modes and public transport first – taking the opportunity to underline that policies must focus on social aspects for a strong public transport system. See thread here

ETF met with Torsten Klimke, Head of Unit MOVE/B3 – Innovation and Research to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing public transport. The European Commission confirmed that ETF will be represented in their new Expert Group on Urban Mobility.

Solidarity with UPT workers|
Regional bus & rail workers in the Netherlands who went on strike for a better Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Following violent and repeated attacks, Italy’s public transport workers went on strike for a safe work environment.



The ETF advisory group on the platform work met to discuss the latest developments with the platform directive, unions work in this area and future actions.

ETF met with platform workers’ representatives from all over Europe to exchange views on platform work at #FairWorkFairFuture ETUC conference in Vienna. ETF made clear that we need a strong EU Platform Work Directive to ensure platform workers’ rights!



Redefining the future of aviation I The voices of the aviation workers were made loud and clear at our September Aviation Conference – Redefining the future of aviation, the largest event in the history of the ETF Civil Aviation section. For the 1st time in the post-COVID period, we gathered over 160 aviation workers in Brussels from all over Europe: cabin crew members, pilots, ATM workers and airport workers. They all asked for a secure and fair aviation industry for workers.

ETF President Frank Moreels underlined the need to address the recent aviation crisis paralysing the industry this summer by building a European strategy for the sector.
As the aviation workers’ needs must be the starting point in redefining the future of aviation, the ETF GS, Livia Spera, asked for solid unity of our aviation affiliates in our fight for a fair and sustainable aviation sector.

Sustainable Aviation I We launched our position paper on Sustainable aviation, ‘Landing desirable jobs’. Main points: the aviation sector needs a long-term sustainability perspective, both from the environmental and social points of view. And we aim to have sustainable, desirable jobs in aviation. It can only be achieved via a clear plan for decarbonisation with the heart of the industry at its core: its workers.

EU Social dialogue I For the first time, the aviation partners in Social Dialogue stood together and said NO to the abusive behaviour against airport aviation workers. In a joint statement, the social partners agreed to work to create a safe environment for workers and passengers in the airport and the aircraft.

#Ryanairmustchange I The out-of-the-blue closure of Ryanair’s base in Brussels Zaventem shows again how little Ryanair cares for its workers. Read our statement on the negative impact of Ryanair’s rush decision, taken without consultation with the unions representing the workers.

New Deal for Aviation I From Montreal, at the ITF Civil Aviation Conference, a New Deal for Aviation was released: transport unions said YES to building a sustainable aviation industry!

Upcoming events:
17/10 – Brussels/BE – CA Steering Committee
18/10 – Brussels/BE – ATM/JAC/GSC Committees
20/10 – Brussels/BE – Social Dialogue Plenary


Youth Steering Committee I Youth’s place within the ETF and work priorities for the next five years were the main topics discussed by the Youth representatives during the 1st Youth Steering Committee after the 2022 ETF Congress. Our priorities for future work will include the shortage of staff, the fight against far-right populism, platform economy and LGBTQI and transport workers’ rights.

Youth Climate Seminar I What are the causes and consequences of climate change? What is a Just transition or climate justice in the general context of greening the transport sector? Fair questions to which solid answers were offered at the Youth Climate Seminar, organised in Antwerp as part of the EU co-funded project ‘Developing transport workers’ expertise for fair transport and strong unions.’

Upcoming events:
6 – 8/12/2022 – Young Workers’ Academy
8 – 9/12/2022 – Youth Committee
Details, soon!