Over 150 young transport workers from 48 countries gathered at the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) Young Transport Workers’ Conference in Mumbai, India from 16 – 18 October 2023, collaboratively articulated their aspirations and concerns over a unifying theme: “Fighting for a Just Future”.
The Conference provided an opportunity for young transport workers to highlight key developments globally, review the ITF’s collective action of key priorities and hear from global leaders about their vision for the future. The discussions are all part of the lead up to the upcoming ITF Congress that will take place in Marrakech, Morocco.
For three days, delegates had the opportunity to hear about campaigns that were taking place in various countries globally; what it takes to build powerful youth structures; deliberate over the future of work across different transport modes and a just transition; delve deeper into ITF sustainable transport programmes; build upon the journey for gender equity and equal rights for all workers.
The conference saw strong representation of young unionists and in particular from Singapore, Young SMOU Chairman, Brother Dominic Yong chaired a session on ‘Developing Digital Organising Skills’. During this session, Brother Dominic and fellow speakers looked into digital organising strategies, highlighting the vital work accomplished by the ITF youth team and committee. Delegates were invited to share what they had learnt from a digital organising workshop they had attended pre-conference. Participants had the unique opportunity to explore practical examples and strategies for digital organising to extend the reach of unions.
Adding more inspiration to the Young Transport Worker’s Conference, SMOU General Secretary Sister Mary Liew was a panelist in an intergenerational dialogue on young transport workers’ rights, moderated by Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of the British Labour Party, and joined by fellow Executive Board member Brother David Messiah, and Youth representatives Sister Preeti Singh and Brother Nick Loridan. At the dialogue session that took place on 19 October 2023, Sister Mary cited examples of how SMOU has been people-centric through its formative years, and worked closely with different stakeholders to grow together with its members, and allowed younger leaders to play a more significant role within the union.
The dialogue saw panelists sharing how unions have improved rights and conditions, organised workers, and won political and industrial changes over the past fifty years, alongside the contemporary experience and ambitions of young transport workers.
It is with the vision of a just future shared at the ITF Young Transport Worker’s Conference that would spur the next generation of leaders to keep fighting the good fight for justice and fairness of transport workers all over the world.