Global Unions

International Transport Workers’ Federation

4 February 2008: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a federation of 681 transport worker unions in 148 countries, representing 4,500,000 transport workers. ITF has shifted its focus to concentrate closely on campaigns, international networking and union organising.

Based on international solidarity since it was founded in 1896, following cooperation between Dutch and British maritime unions during a strike, the ITF uses its industrially-based structures to build the union strengths of port workers, seafarers, aviation workers, road transport and railway workers.

The ITF’s 60-year old Flag of Convenience campaign supports the rights of seafarers in the world’s oldest globalised industry. Maritime unions’ efforts culminated in 2003 in the first ever internationally bargained, worldwide collective agreement.

In road and rail transport as well as in ports and airports, the ITF is dealing with multinational corporations and developing policies to build industrial muscle in today’s boom industry - the logistics sector. Here, as in the passenger transport industry, changing employment structures have led the ITF to look closely at the profile age and gender of the workforce.

Led by its affiliated unions, today’s ITF is responding to globalisation with a planned approach to organising along global transport and supply chains, coupled with strategic campaigns to ensure transport workers’ rights are respected the world over."