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Technical meeting on the future of decent and sustainable work in urban transport services

Urban passenger transport systems will be crucial to move towards a zero-carbon future

An ILO Technical meeting on the future of decent and sustainable work in urban transport services emphasized the sector’s role in the achievement of sustainable cities and communities.

Press release | 06 September 2021

GENEVA (ILO News) – Urban passenger transport services and operations (UPT) can help fight climate change but sustainable investments are needed to help the sector transition towards a green economy with decent and sustainable jobs.

Transport is responsible for 25 per cent of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and formally employs 7.3 million workers around the world. The shift to low-carbon modes of transport, as well as the formalization of informal transport services and the expansion of public transport infrastructure will be crucial to achieve the climate change targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

These are among the main conclusions of the Technical meeting on the future of decent and sustainable work in urban transport services (30 August-3 September 2021) that brought together representatives from governments, employers and workers at the ILO to discuss the future of decent and sustainable decent work in this sector and analyze the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“UPT services and operations form the backbone of sustainable cities of the future. There are great opportunities to build forward better from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sonya Mohamed Janahi, Chairperson of the meeting.

“Urban passenger transport services are important to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. UPT is a basic service and a powerful driver of equity and sustainability,” added Sara Gabriela Luna Camacho, Government group Vice-Chairperson.

Urban passenger transport authorities, operators and workers have been struggling in recent years with under-investment and austerity, terrorist attacks and violence, informality, and disruption from new technologies. These problems have been compounded by the massive impact of the pandemic.

“Joint efforts are needed to respond to COVID-19 in order to quickly restore public confidence in UPT. Technological innovations can help create decent and sustainable work in the sector,” emphasized Kris de Meester, Employers’ group Vice-Chairperson.

The prevalence of certain occupational safety and health risks and the high degree of informality make workers particularly vulnerable. This is because they often lack access to fundamental principles and rights at work.

“Informal UPT workers face multiple decent work challenges. We look forward to working with ILO tripartite constituents on how best to support the transition to formality and a just transition to decent and sustainable work, including through capacity building for representatives of informal workers’ and employers’ organizations,” said Wol-san Liem, Workers’ group Vice-Chairperson.

The Global call to action for a human-centred recovery, adopted in June by the International Labour Conference, can provide a roadmap for shaping a future that works for all in the automotive industry and ensure that no one is left behind.

The meeting adopted conclusions that will assist governments, workers and employers to shape a future that ensures safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport for all and:
  • Harness the fullest potential of technological progress and digitalization, including platform work, to create decent jobs and sustainable enterprises.
  • Support the continuity, improvement and expansion of UPT services and employment and extend the role of social dialogue.
  • Promote the creation, attraction and retention of decent and sustainable jobs and support business and service continuity, and sustainable investment in the sector.
  • Facilitate an inclusive transition to formality and a just transition to more environmentally sustainable economies and societies.
  • Actively strengthen women’s employment in the sector by promoting measures and actions to alleviate gender-specific obstacles to accessing the sector.
  • Ensure adequate working conditions and safety and health at work and extend social protection to all UPT workers, regardless of the nature of their employment status.
  • Develop or strengthen national, regional and local policies and strategies on professionalization, lifelong learning, skills development and technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
The future of decent and sustainable work in urban passenger transport for a job-rich recovery