ITF general secretary Steve Cotton met with union leaders and activists across the transport sectors in Tunisia and Morocco to demonstrate support for the development of the affiliates, which has come as a result of the region having the fastest union membership increases.
06/11/2015 – Accompanied by the ITF Arab World co-ordinator Bilal Malkawi, in Tunis Cotton met the leadership of the UGTT and congratulated them on their well-deserved 2015 Nobel peace prize, which they were awarded along with other civil society organisations in the Tunisian national dialogue quartet for their role in helping to prevent the Jasmine revolution from descending into civil war in 2013 and contributing ‘to the building of a pluralistic democracy’.
He also met other transport union leaders, including FNT general secretary Moncef Ben Romdhane, and workers at different work locations, including the Tunisian Navigation Company (Compagnie Tunisienne de Navigation), the Tunisian Transport Company (TRANSTU), the Tunis Air Company and the Tunisian Railway Union (FNCT).
His visit in Tunis ended in a meeting with the transport minister, Mahmoud Ben Romdhane, during which they discussed the urgent issues presented by transport unions during the visit and the vital role to be played by each party in order to move the transport sector forward.
In Morocco, Cotton met with UMT general secretary El Mokhrek El Miloudi and transport union leaders, including dockers’ union general secretary and Arab world chair Said Elhairech, Mhammad Haytoum, railways union general secretary, and Ibrahim Qirfa, head of the transport federation. He congratulated them on the recent election results, where UMT won the highest workers’ representation, with 100 percent in the ground handling sector, 98 percent in the dockers’ sector and 82 percent in the railway sector. He also visited the port and the railway dry port of Casablanca.
As a result of this visit Cotton said: “I’ve been very impressed to see these two countries at the forefront in trying to build a better society for their workers. The ITF is commited to support and strengthen its affiliated transport unions in the UGTT and UMT, who strive to maintain and improve their national companies.
“We will move this work forward within the ITF priority projects in airports and public transport in both countries, through member education, sharing of similar experiences from other global transport unions and promoting unity.”