Congress officially closed!
“Seeing you all wearing your scarves opens our hearts, together we are fighting colonialisation and occupation around the world,” said Palestinian Ambassador Dr Ahmed Al-Mathbour at the Palestine solidarity fringe event last night, Tuesday 12th August.
To rousing cries of support Al-Mathbour called for “real solidarity for the Palestinian people.” He continued; “there is suffering, we are blockaded on all sides by sea by air, and now you have all witnessed the barbaric attacks on our people. We rely on all of you; tomorrow we can build peace and justice in our region"
Welcoming Congress delegates to the well-attended evening of Palestinian music, Assistant General Secretary Stuart Howard said, “I feel very privileged to have been hosted in Palestine and to have visited the ITF drivers’ project there. An ITF young transport workers’ delegation to Palestine is a brilliant idea – these workers will not only bear witness but also return home as activists in the cause of justice for Palestine.
Howard paid tribute to Nasser Younis of the Palestinian transport workers’ union: “Nasser has built and strengthened his union, he is an inspiration to the ITF.”
To see more about the ITF drivers' project view our film!
There was a strong message delivered at a packed fringe meeting; The ETF’s François Ballestero summed it up: “We’re not against low cost airlines, we’re against social dumping. We’re trying to improve the quality of jobs. We want to have a say, we need to have a say.”
The meeting on the low cost airline model was a timely response to a changing aviation world that was illustrated by Cardiff University’s Peter Turnbull. He pointed to the burgeoning growth in the sector and how it has grown, often at the expense of legacy carriers. And that’s before even mentioning the danger of aviation flags of convenience.
The meeting explored new ways to ensure that staff on low cost airlines are protected and that all airlines respect their workers and uphold standards - as some already do and others, the ETF reported, have been persuaded to do. As Francois Ballestero put it: “We have to adapt, adapt, adapt.”
"We need to act on fatigue. In Barbados, we tragically lost a bus driver who felt asleep at the wheel"
Wilma Clement, Barbados Workers' Union
“We are facing a major challenge – the corporatisation of ports in the name of ‘improving efficiency’ – and if we need to take industrial action to fight this it will be seafarers we will be looking to for solidarity support”
Seema Mohan, Transport and Dock Workers Union, Kandla
"We declare war on economic greed!"
Tony Sheldon, TWU
"Where companies and governments fail their employees and constituencies it is our job to intervene"
Liz Blackshaw, ITF/IUF fisheries programme leader
It's the first time at congress for Portuguese interpreters Sarah Baily and Debora Chobanian......
I've done work for different trade unions in the past but this is my first time with the ITF.
I'm amazed at the scale of congress, at the number of people and the different languages being represented.
Interpreting can be a pretty hard job, especially when you're coming into a new organisation. Some things which other people take for granted, like knowing what all the acronyms mean, you have to get acquainted with.
We're getting really good feedback from Portuguese speaking participants. I understand Portuguese interpretation hasn't been provided before. Now it's available they're able to contribute more.
There's a lot of preparation for interpretation, studying of documents. You're a team in that booth, working together to pool your strengths and resources and make the most of your different skills.
I've worked with the civil aviation section of the ITF before in London so it's great for me to be at congress and see how that work fits in with the bigger picture. Now I can see the scope of the ITF.
On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth to make the 12TH of August International Youth Day.
Our youth delegation of the MUA were invited to attend an event held at The Bells Monument- ‘banner of peace’ which was built to symbolise the striving of youth from all over the world, to live and grow according to the laws of beauty. It was fantastic to listen to the passion and conviction of Ekaterina Yordanova of the Federation of Transport Trade Unions in Bulgaria as she encouraged us to embrace the mantra "Unity, Creativity, Beauty’ for we are tomorrows world leaders.
It is crucial that we continue to forge networks with strong unions from around the world and learn from their struggles, likewise comprise their strengths and will to overcome corrupt and unjust laws. It is now up to the youth delegates of the world to take ownership of what we have learned over the past few days of the 43rd ITF congress and return to our respected unions and Educate the masses, because no matter in which part of the planet he/she is, the colour of his/her skin, it is our humanitarian right to live in peace.
I look forward to continuing this journey with my fellow comrades from around the world and would like to leave you with a quote from a true humanitarian leader of the world Nelson Mandela- ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done’.
MUA Youth Contingent