“World leaders’ knee-jerk reactions to the Omicron variant are putting transport workers and the global supply chain at greater risk of collapse.” International organizations and unions are raising an outcry against restrictive measures that at least 56 countries have reinstated following the spread of the new variant.
In a joint note, IATA, the International Air Transport Association; ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping; IRU, the International Road Transport Union; and ITF, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, call on governments not to reimpose border restrictions that further limit the freedom of movement of international transport workers and to learn from the lessons of the past two years.
“Cross-border transport workers, including seafarers, air crew, and drivers,” they say, “must be able to continue to do their jobs and cross borders without overly restrictive travel rules to keep already strained supply chains moving.”
The transport bodies, who account for over $20 trillion in global trade annually and 65 million transport workers worldwide across the supply chain, are demanding an end to governments’ hasty and uneven approach to travel rules: “Now is the time for heads of state to listen to industry leaders and workers, by taking decisive and coordinated action together to ease the strain on the supply chain and support an exhausted global transport workforce during the busy holiday season.”
A meeting on the new crisis is set for Monday December 6th with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) to discuss what effect recommendations and impact travel bans and other restrictions in response to the Omicron variant will have on transport workers and the supply chain.
Translation by Giles Foster