Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Any person who's been following union activities in their own countries and throughout the world will bear witness this organizations are very strong and tends to influence way things are done in areas of involvement. The international labour organization is the pioneer of workers rights and its related to many trade unions worldwide. One such organization which has had a big impact in shipping industry is ITF- International Transport workers Federation. Below is a write up and some of its developments:

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is a global union federation of transport workers' trade unions, founded in 1896.

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

In 2009 the ITF had 654 member organizations in 148 countries, representing a combined membership of 4.5 million workers worldwide.

The ITF is allied with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
Any independent trade union with members in the transport industry is eligible for membership of the organization.

The ITF represents the interests of transport workers' unions in bodies such as:
-           The International Labour Organization (ILO),

-           The International Maritime Organization (IMO)

-          The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The organization also:
-           Informs and advises unions about developments in the transport industry in other countries or regions of the world,

-          Organize international solidarity actions when member unions in one country are in conflict with employers or government.
The ITF executive is highly concerned about:

-          The effects of globalization,

-          The increased concentration of ownership of international transport companies,

-          Global warming,

-          Public service improvement

-          The privatization of large formerly state-run transport enterprises.
It notes that the World Trade Organization (WTO) plays a central role in this process and considers it necessary for unions to exert what pressure they can on the WTO to respect social and labour standards in its agreements.

It is particularly concerned about the effect that the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) could have on transport workers by breaking down national transport regulations.

It considers it important to oppose the inclusion of transport-related services in the GATS. It considers that the major international finance organizations, including the World Bank and regional development banks, have had a "serious negative impact both on the quality of transport services and on the employment and working conditions of transport workers."

It also sees the neoliberal economic policies being promoted by regional blocks including the EU, MERCOSUR, ASEAN, NAFTA, and SADC as being generally injurious to transport workers.

It believes it is necessary to create solidarity networks between trade unions, and to improve the coordination between ITF sections, so that effective responses can be made to large multinational business entities which span several regions and many sectors of workers.

The ITF holds a congress every four years in accordance with the ITF Constitution, Rule IV. The congress has supreme authority within the ITF.
Global Mariner history

In the late 1990s, the ITF operated a floating museum, the mV Global Mariner, which sailed around the world to promote awareness of flags of convenience and slave-like conditions at sea.
 The vessel was originally built in England in 1979 as the mV Ruddbank, and sank in 2000 off the Venezuelan coast after colliding with a container ship.

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