Women transport workers and Covid-19

2020-12-24 10:14:16 Trade Body / Associations News

The Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented: it is reshaping the world economy in a way that has never been seen before. At the centre of it are transport workers, who are keeping the world moving and linking supply chains, despite the crisis.

It is essential that workers are protected and supported to take the measures necessary to help control the spread of the virus.

Today more than ever, transport workers will ensure that essential supplies reach those who need them, people can return home and those who need to work can still get there or access hospitals for treatment. Public transport workers, truck drivers, warehouse workers, delivery drivers, aviation workers, dockers, seafarers and more will continue to work during this crisis.

Transport workers are vital to successfully responding to the challenge of Covid-19.

During the current COVID-19 crisis, violence in the world of work and the gender-segregated nature of the transport industry will continue to have a disproportionately negative impact on women transport workers. The future of work will become an even more pressing issue as we emerge on the other side of this crisis and as the transport industry adapts to the new reality, with the risk of further disadvantaging women in the sector.

Aspects of this crisis that women will face

There are many aspects of this crisis that women will face specifically or disproportionately, not exclusively including:

maternity concerns and risks,

increased vulnerability to catching and spreading the virus and to violence at work due to over-representation in customer-facing roles and lack of sufficient and appropriate PPE,

risk of non-payment of salary and/or wage cuts,

over-representation in cleaning work,

over-representation in informal or precarious work,

over-representation in the immediately and severely affected cruise and civil aviation sectors,

disproportionate share of unpaid care responsibilities,

increased risk of domestic violence as an additional consequence of isolation and curfews, and lack of support due to the economic impact on survivor support services and initiatives, and

low levels of representation in industry decision-making bodies with concern about the long-term impact on women’s participation in the industry.

Additionally, sufficient access to decent sanitation is critical to the prevention of illness and slowing the spread of the virus. This issue is relevant to all workers, but for women there are additional concerns.

The ITF Transport Workers’ Sanitation Charter contains information and demands relevant for all unions in our response to COVID-19.                    

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