Stephen Cotton
General Secretary
International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)

Stephen Cotton is General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), a global union federation of 670 trade unions representing nearly 18 million transport workers in 154 countries in the maritime, port, aviation, road, rail and urban transport sectors. He was elected at the 43rd ITF Congress in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014, and re-elected at the 44th ITF Congress in Singapore, 2018.

Under his leadership, the ITF has transformed into a proactive campaigning organisation, allowing the ITF and its affiliates to secure industry-leading contracts and protocols with key multinational companies in the transport sector.

He is Chair of the Council of Global Unions (CGU), a Trustee of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust and serves on the United Seaman’s Service (USS) governing body.

In 2021, Cotton has been appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to serve as a Member of the Board of the UN Global Compact, an initiative that mobilises industry leaders globally to do business responsibly and improve the state of society.

In 2014, Cotton received the USS Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Award, in recognition of his work defending the well-being and fair treatment of seafarers.