The theme of the 41st International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) Congress held in Durban, South Africa in 2006, August, has been Organizing Globally: Fighting for Our Rights. "Is this just a catchy slogan?" asks Stuart Howard, "or does it represent an agenda to build a powerful global unionism?" As globalisation touches more workplaces in more countries, it is no longer possible to have an effective union organizing strategy in most industries without a global dimension. However, such international union coordination requires some new ways of working. This article deals with the challenges faced by Unions in the increasingly globalized transport industry. The reality for most unions is that transport workers face increasing pressure towards lower conditions and less job security. Yet it is also true that the global economy now depends on sensitive global transport and distribution systems.
In this framework, the ITF has developed and Agenda for a more flexible way of Union organization, called Organizing Globally. The separation of port workers, truckers, seafarers and rail workers may impede a union strategy that needs to cut across transport modes. Organizing Globally aims to ask unions to commit resources to strategies that would prioritize strengthening organization in strategic target areas like multi-modal transport companies, largest container ports like Hong-Kong, Oil industry and oil tanker drivers, passenger transport companies, etc.