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Women leaders build change

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ITF women LHRITF women leaders meeting in London last week pledged to continue building union power, denouncing discrimination, and challenging neo-liberal austerity policies.

Thirty women leaders from 27 countries, members of the international ITF committee that represents women transport workers all over the globe, discussed gender approaches to key ITF campaigns on raising standards for all employees at DHL, workers’ rights at Qatar Airways, organising informal workers, and building power in port hubs and in our public transport.

Informal work, a key issue for women workers, was discussed at length. Valeria Latron, of the CFDT in France, said: “Employers put women on short term contracts, but this should be a choice for women, not an imposition. We have to ensure women’s jobs are high quality.”

The ITF women expressed solidarity with sisters and brothers facing violent conflict in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Libya, stood with Palestinian women in the transport sector, and supported women activists at Agility in Kenya, who are facing anti-union intimidation

Jimena Lopez, head of the LAN Ecuador union – who has become internationally renowned for her strong leadership following her dismissal for union activism – told the meeting that the power of international solidarity had been key in getting support from the Ecuadorian government.

The women leaders also introduced the Leading change programme, which includes training and online union resources covering leadership, strategic planning, organising, collective bargaining, and communication.

The resounding message throughout the two days of debate was that the ITF is changing to build workers’ power in new ways and that women transport workers are central to this agenda.

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