Global transport workers’ union and Uber launch safety charter for couriers, as social dialogue continues under new agreement

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Uber launched a joint charter to help improve health and safety for millions of couriers in over 11,000 cities around the world.

The Global Charter on Courier Health and Safety introduces 12 principles Uber has committed to expand, that address the unique safety concerns of couriers, especially those who deliver by bike, scooter and motorcycle on the Uber platform. 

This includes helping improve couriers’ access to safety equipment, launching in-app road safety features, enhanced interpersonal-safety and mental health support and working with couriers and their representatives to advocate for safe and sustainable standards.

The new safety charter comes as the ITF and Uber renew their joint commitment to continue social dialogue on topics impacting platform workers globally, such as: trade union representation; freedom of association and bargaining; working conditions; health and safety; social protections; and dispute resolution.

Since the ITF and Uber first signed an MOU over two years ago, meaningful progress has been made on working conditions and platform workers’ rights in countries around the world. 

The historic collaboration has led to two bilateral agreements with Uber and unions affiliated to the ITF in the UK and Belgium, guaranteeing working conditions, establishing new deactivation appeals processes and better representation of workers. 

Ground-breaking new laws establishing industry-wide minimum standards for all platform workers have been adopted in Australia and new regulations for ride-hailing drivers in Brazil have been introduced following social dialogue processes that involved Uber, other platform companies, ITF affiliates and government authorities.

The achievements of the past two years provide clear evidence that platforms and trade unions can sit down and reach a compromise when they focus on working together and improving working conditions for drivers and couriers.

Commenting on the announcements, Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, ITF, said

“At the ITF, protecting the lives and livelihoods of workers, and ensuring that workers have a seat at the table in setting occupational standards for safety and health in the workplace, is our number one priority. Today’s announcement is a step towards better working conditions for millions of platform workers worldwide.”

“The significance of this global safety charter really can’t be underestimated – it means millions of workers can go about their jobs knowing they have a voice in determining and demanding a safe workplace, which is exactly how it should be.”

“Whatever the company and whatever the mode of transport, the ITF will always be on the lookout for how to protect workers, and we’ll never shirk from calling out bad practice. But as this world-first safety charter with Uber shows, when businesses and trade unions come together in a spirit of collaboration, it benefits all of us.”

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Senior Vice President of Delivery, Uber, said: “Couriers play a vital role in everyday life for millions of people, making delivery of almost anything available at the press of a button. We’re proud to be working with the ITF to roll-out an industry-leading charter that prioritizes the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone who delivers on the Uber platform.”

Andrew Byrne, Head of Global Public Policy, Uber, said in support: “Our industry-leading partnership with ITF has led to better working conditions for hundreds of thousands of platform workers on a global scale. Although much remains to be done and we do not see eye to eye on every issue, it’s clear that when Uber, the  ITF and its affiliates work together we can make meaningful progress on critical issues. We hope our renewed partnership with the ITF and our Global Charter on Courier Health & Safety paves the way for more policymakers, social representatives and platforms to join our shared commitment to improve platform work for all.”