October 6th to 12th is this year’s International Transport Workers Federations (ITF)
Week of Action. Our CAW Campaign will take place from October 12th through 15th this year.
“Fatigue Kills”; “Organizing the Unorganized”; “Waiting Time is Working Time” ;”Manufacturing Matters”; Conditions in the Road Transport Sector” have been some of the past campaigns that are specific to the transportation industry that still need attention. This year’s campaign will deal with each of the past themes as well as “Respect and Safety Now”. In Canada what is very important to our industry is supporting Canadian workers.
International Workers challenge multinational to honor its promises
Workers at multinational giant DHL will be challenging the company to open dialogue and honor its promises of fair treatment for all employees as part of a week of action between 6 to 12 October 2010.
CAW members all over will be at the forefront of the campaign here and will be recruiting DHL workers to campaign for fair treatment for all the company’s workers, wherever they are.
For a company that is proud to describe itself as a worldwide and world class enterprise, DHL is curiously partial to taking a free ride in any countries where the laws or government turn a blind eye to poor pay, poor conditions and coming down hard on anyone who has the temerity to want to be part of a trade union.
The CAW and our members working for DHL don’t think that’s good enough. We want a level playing field for everyone working for DHL, whatever their job, whatever their home country.
This protest // action // week long campaign will be linked to activities by DHL workers and their unions being held around the world as part of a DHL Workers Week called by the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and UNI Global Union (UNI). The ITF represents almost 5 million members in transport, UNI represents 2.5 million workers from the postal sector.
The week of action is a joint campaign for rights for all DHL workers, irrespective of where they work or whether they’re directly employed or a subcontractor. The campaign seeks to ensure that workers at DHL have a voice in how the company is run, wherever they happen to be working. UNI and the ITF believe the best way to do that is by making sure that they are represented by their unions of choice, and by DHL engaging in meaningful dialogue. For more details please see www.itfglobal.org/campaigns/dhlworkers.cfm
The ITF and UNI are campaigning on DHL because:
Deutsche Post DHL claims it respects trade union and workers’ rights, but evidence from around the world suggests otherwise.
Deutsche Post DHL’s reactive policy of compliance with national regulations clearly isn’t working – instead it breeds a management culture of ‘do what you can get away with’.
Real respect for workers would involve a positive commitment to best practice. This is why the ITF and UNI are demanding a global agreement for DHL workers.
Current Conditions in the Road Transport Sector
Everywhere you look in our society, people and things must be transported – those movements occur more often by road than any other mode of travel. Trucking, taxi, passenger buses, couriers, and school buses: all ply the busy roads of our country fulfilling this essential economic task. As a result, the road transportation sector is an enormous industry, which has become one of Canada’s largest employers.
Total employment in road transportation (including trucking, public transit, couriers, taxis) exceeded 360,000 Canadians in 2008. About 60,000 new jobs in the sector have been created since 2000. Indeed, the truck industry was one of the biggest single new employers during recent years, spurred by vibrant economic conditions and increasing freight business.
That expansion will probably come to a grinding halt in the next couple of years, however, because of the global financial crisis and the resulting economic recession in Canada. Freight business is slowing down, and this has worsened the condition of excess capacity in the trucking and courier businesses. This business is intensely competitive at the best of times, but the overall slowdown will push suppliers to cut costs and prices even further, in a desperate effort to stay in business. This is a time when unions really proves it’s value, by preventing employers from taking out the cost of the economic crisis on their workers.
In public transit, the future economic outlook is generally more optimistic. Problems of urban congestion and global warming have pushed our governments to expand budgets for public transit construction and operation (though still not adequate). Stimulus spending from the federal and provincial governments in response to the recession will also help strengthen funding for public transit services. The challenge will be to ensure that this money is well-spent on high-quality, publicly-owned services.
What is immerging as one of biggest problems for today’s professional driver is the fact that too many companies don’t recognize waiting time and the “hours at work” are increasing for owner operators and independent truckers. The companies only recognize the time spent behind the wheel as working time. There are more and more companies forcing drivers to wait at the customer’s locations/ warehouses/ bus terminals or to help load their own trucks and/or wait for passengers but only pay them for driving time and the daily hours at work are increasing for owner operators and independent truckers.
If you are an owner operator and are being paid on a percentage of what the customer is charged, what happens when the company drops their rates to the customer? You lose money! Does the company care? No, they always make sure they make money, they look after their profit margin and they dump the entire burden onto the driver! You don’t even find out the company has dropped their rates until you see that your pay cheque is smaller than it once was.
Being a professional driver has enough stress built into the job. Road and weather conditions, passenger conduct, traffic and safety issues, just in time deliveries and driving regulations to name a few. Making sure you have adequate sleep is important and losing the ability to rest to unpaid labour is unacceptable.
Major Sector Development Issues
> We need to promote stronger safety and labour standards through government regulation, including more effective hours of work limits.
> We need to resist the tendency of the industry to drive down compensation and work standards, especially during economic downturns when thee is too much capacity in the industry.
> We need to protect public ownership in urban transportation: expand investments in public transit to improve service and reduce pollution from passenger car use in cities.
Moving Forward: Developing the Road Transport Sector
Road transportation is vitally important to the economic lifeblood of Canada. Can you imagine what would happen to the whole economy if road travel suddenly stopped? Chaos, congestion, and gridlock. So the people who work in this sector perform an essential service for all of us, delivering people and goods within communities and between them. Moreover, given the inherent risks of road transport and highway travel, public safety depends on those services being provided in a professional, high-quality manner.
Unfortunately, the powerful forces of private market competition tend to push the whole sector in the direction of always reducing costs, downgrading service, and cheapening labour. Excess capacity is a chronic weakness experienced in the freight hauling, courier, and taxi businesses. Fly-by-night operators try to penetrate the market by offering still lower prices – but at the expense of their underpaid workers, and with dubious impacts on the safety and quality of the services.
The wages in this sector are all over the map. This is not at all a fair recognition of the importance, the dangers, and the stress involved in this work. Wages are higher in some segments (such as larger freight and courier firms, and public transit operators). But they are even lower in many road transport occupations – well below what is required to raise a family. The assumption is that as long as someone has a driver’s license, they can just be thrown into a job for a low wage, without training, proper equipment, or safety standards. This is a terrible way to run a business that is so crucial to our national prosperity and well-being.
All of us in this sector need to fight to have drivers treated as valued professionals, rather than as low-wage hired hands. This partly requires striving through collective bargaining to raise the wages, benefits, and working conditions of the sector, and to close off the “low-road” option that will be the natural first choice of most private operators. But it also means improving the overall economic conditions of the sector: limiting overcapacity; pushing suppliers to invest more in modern, high-quality equipment; to raise safety and quality standards; to spend more on training and retention, instead of treating drivers as a cheap throw-away resource. In the private sector this will also require stronger government regulations on safety and working conditions. In public transit we continue to fight for adequate investments in new equipment and services to meet our growing need (both social and environmental) for high-quality urban mass transit.
During this “Week of Action”
We need for Canadians of all sectors of the economy to recognize “Made in Canada Matters”. In the transportation sector we need to be building, servicing and operating Canadian made equipment with Canadian workers. Good jobs mean more local freight from raw materials, suppliers, feeder plants, production facilities to retailers. More quality jobs would support the need to better transportation networks for these workers. It all works hand in hand for the Canadian economy and more importantly for you and your neighbours!
Our union is calling on all levels of government to adopt Buy Canadian policies for all public purchases - one of the important policy tools to help protect manufacturing jobs and encourage regional economic development in Canada. Buying Canadian helps save good jobs and builds stronger communities.
The only way to TAKE ACTION is to organize!
No one is going to be able to do it alone. It is going to take a collective effort, organizing employer by employer. If these employers do not get the message and start taking some responsibility, their workers will organize a Union. If you are not already a member of a Union, give us a call at the number listed below. If you already belong to a Union, get involved, You are the Union! Together we can make things better!
Remember, the week of October 6-12, 2010 is the International Transport Workers Federation “Week of Action” and we will be doing our campaign from October 12th – 15th, 2010. Professional drivers around the world will be driving home the message to their employers – “Respect and Safety Now”, “Waiting Time is Working Time”,“Hours at Work need to be Compensated” and “Manufacturing Matters”!
Workers internationally can support each other by doing a better job of supporting their own economies locally and telling these multi-national corporations and the supporters of a world economy that communities matter! “Our Communities Matter”
All calls to the CAW Organizing Department are always kept strictly confidential!