Transport workers around the world will grow alienated unless governments start turning global debates on climate protection and digitalization into clear policies and standards, the head of the global union of transport workers says.
Stephen Cotton, general secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), said that workers are being told that their jobs will soon be taken over by driverless trucks and trains.
“They are hearing that carbon emissions must come down.
“Our people are getting a double whammy.
“This is polarising politics all over the world, because they don’t know where they fit,’’ the unionist who represents 18.5 million people in road transport, railways, shipping and aviation said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Cotton criticised that while corporations and governments are looking for ways to retrain people to give them skills for the digital economy, little thought has gone into what exactly these people should learn.
“Countries also need to hammer out emission standards.
“Uncertainty about future emission standards for ship engines has likely played a role in the steep drop in ship manufacturing orders,’’ Cotton said after being asked how the climate debate is affecting the transport sector.
According to the London-based ITF, transport accounts for a quarter of global energy-based emissions, and emissions in this industry are growing fast.
“The umbrella union has been reaching out to governments and corporations as it seeks to be included in decision-making on climate issues, but this has not always been so.
“The ITF represents not only carbon-efficient sectors such as railways, but also emissions-heavy ones like trucking and shipping.
“We’ve been slow coming to this,’’ he noted.