The International Road Transport Union (IRU), of which CETM is a member, together with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), have jointly called on governments not to re-impose border restrictions limiting the freedom of movement of transport professionals in the face of the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Leading international transport organisations believe that the knee-jerk reactions of world leaders pose a greater risk of collapse to the global supply chain and show that they have not learned from the mistakes of the last two years.
It is essential that cross-border transport workers can carry out their work undisturbed and cross borders without overly restrictive rules as supply chains are “already ailing”.
As they point out in a statement, a week after the WHO designated the new strain as a “variant of concern”, at least 56 countries have re-imposed various travel restrictions.
Considering this situation, the IRU and the other organisations call for an end to “the rushed and fragmented approach to travel rules” and state that what is really needed is “decisive and coordinated action” to ease the tension in the supply chain.
They also expressed frustration that governments have failed to deliver on the measures they advocated in September, which are listed below:
- Ensure the free and safe movement of transport workers.
- Prioritise transport workers to receive WHO-recognised vaccines.
- Adopt durable industry-developed travel and health protocols for seafarers, drivers, and air crew, supported by WHO, ILO, IMO and ICAO.
- Create globally harmonised, digital, and mutually recognised vaccination certificates and processes to demonstrate health credentials (including vaccination status and COVID-19 test results), which are critical to ensure that transport workers can cross international borders.
- Increase the global supply of vaccines at our disposal to accelerate the recovery of our industries.
IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto expressed his disappointment at how “governments unilaterally change hundreds of rules affecting cross-border transport workers in a matter of hours” and denounced the situation faced by professional drivers who “pay a high price simply to do their job”. “They, and all of us who rely on their service, deserve much better,” he said.