The International Transport Workers’ Federation

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is an international trade union federation of transport workers’ unions. Any independent trade union with members in the transport industry is eligible for membership of the ITF.

708 unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers in 154 countries are members of the ITF. It is one of several Global Federation Unions allied with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The ITF’s headquarters is located in London and it has offices in Nairobi, Ouagadougou, Tokyo, New Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, Amman, Moscow and Brussels.

Objectives

The aims of the ITF are set out in its Constitution. They are:

  • to promote respect for trade union and human rights worldwide
  • to work for peace based on social justice and economic progress
  • to help its affiliated unions defend the interests of their members
  • to provide research and information services to its affiliates
  • to provide general assistance to transport workers in difficulty

Although the range of ITF activities is very wide, they can be best summed up under three key headings:

  • representation
  • information
  • practical solidarity

The ITF represents the interests of transport workers’ unions in bodies which take decisions affecting jobs, employment conditions or safety in the transport industry, such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

A major function of the ITF is informing and advising unions about developments in the transport industry in other countries or regions of the world. The ITF also maintains a specialist education department, dedicated to the development of strong and democratic transport unions.

The ITF organises international solidarity when transport unions in one country are in conflict with employers or government and need direct help from unions in other countries.

The kind of solidarity needed can range from protest messages, demonstrations and political pressure, to direct industrial action in the form of strikes, boycotts etc. The ITF’s worldwide campaign in the maritime industry against the use by ship owners of Flags of Convenience (FOCs) to escape from national laws and national unions is a good example of solidarity.