ITF and Qatari government continue talks under the ILO technical cooperation programme

March 12, 2018

An ITF delegation, led by ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton, visited Qatar last week to hold discussions with top officials to set a framework for the implementation of the common objectives, agreed by both sides at a previous meeting held in London on 4 October last year.

The ITF delegation met with HE Mr. Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport; HE Mr. Issa bin Saad Al-Jafali Al-Nuaimi, Minister of Administrative Development – Labour and Social Affairs (ADLSA); Mr. Fernando Casadevall, Qatar Airways’ Chief Human Resources Officer; Saleh bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Director General of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Houtan Homayounpour, responsible of the ILO office in Doha.

The ITF delegates welcomed the Ministers’ commitment to the ILO technical cooperation programme (TCP), under which the ILO and the Government of Qatar agreed to work together to strengthen national regulations and practices. They also agreed to work together to strengthen the capacities of the government, employers, and workers to realise fundamental principles and rights at work, in line with international labour standards. Under the TCP, the government of Qatar will promote a speedy process to resolve individual grievance procedures and will regulate the creation of joint labour committees at company level, among other measures.

After the meetings, Stephen Cotton declared: “We believe that accelerating our cooperation with the aim of reaching an agreement will provide a clear message to the regional and global community that the Government of Qatar is fully committed to the TCP and workers’ rights generally. With the government’s support, and under the umbrella of the ILO TCP, I am certain that we can develop a road map to be launched in the next few months for the full protection of labour and social rights of all transport workers in Qatar.”


Last week, the European Social Partners in Ground Handling (ACI Europe, ASA and ETF) met in Lyon for the last Steering Committee of the joint Social Dialogue Project. Within this project, a study was undertaken by Syndex and STC-Group on Market Access and Social Conditions, Vocational Training, Qualifications and Quality Standards.

The Social Partners agreed on a statement that will accompany the results of the project which includes a commitment to joint work on the evaluation of the Ground Handling Directive with the view to better identify the loopholes and the discrepancies in the market access to avoid distortion of competition with a special attention to transfer of staff as per national and sectoral CLAs and the Directive on Transfer of Undertakings. At the same time, greater harmonisation of training standards will also be part of the Social Dialogue programme and should be considered by the European Commission as part of the evaluation. The Social Partners are also ready to work on solutions to be considered after the evaluation process.

In order to present the results of the project, a brochure will be produced both in paper and electronic versions.


Last week, the FIT-CISL Centro Studi in Florence hosted a series of Civil Aviation Meetings where the leaders of ETF-affiliated unions discussed the situation in aviation as well as challenges for the future. The first day was dedicated to the meetings of the Committees (ATM, CCC/PWG and GSC). On the second day, the second workshop of our Fair Aviation for All Project took place where we discussed a number of case studies including the right to strike in air traffic management, third-country workers, the Norwegian outsourcing model as well as the positive example of limitation of ground handlers at Fiumicino airport. The marathon of meetings was concluded by the plenary meeting of the ETF Civil Aviation Section. The main points of the meeting included the revision of the EASA Basic Regulation, preparation for the Commissions’ social package for aviation as well as future projects. A dedicated section was devoted to discuss common strategies in order to defend workers’ rights at Ryanair.

Ryanair recognizes pilots’ unions, ETF and ITF welcome the move

‘We’ll play fair, Ryanair’ – global unions respond to airline’s recognition decision

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), who represent workers in all the major players in Europe’s aviation industry, including Ryanair, have welcomed Ryanair’s statement today that it will change its “long standing policy of not recognizing unions”– and have issued a challenge to the airline to play fair from now on.

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ETF/ATCEUC PRESS RELEASE: Our Rights – Your Safety

Brussels, 20 November 2017

The Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) have launched today a campaign to oppose the European Commission will to shape and limit the Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs)’ right to strike. Indeed, Commission encroaches the national sovereignty of Member States as the right to strike falls outside the scope of the Treaties.

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On 14 November 2017 the delegation of the ETF Civil Aviation Section met with the Director-General of DG MOVE Henrik Hololei and his team.

The meeting dealt with a number of ETF priority topics including the revision of the EASA Basic Regulation which is about to be finalized, the proposed ‘Aviation Social Package’ due to be released in 2018, the equality of treatment of third-country aircrew, ATM service continuity and the right to strike, social protection of ground handling staff, follow-up of the ECJ ruling on Ryanair as well as the EU external aviation policy. In conclusion, the Commission agreed to a number of action points on the individual items.

While remaining cautiously optimistic, ETF will continue to push for concrete results of this work so that this doesn’t become (yet another) talking shop.

Breakthrough to end kafala after new commitments from Qatar on workers’ rights

The International Trade Union Confederation welcomes the breakthrough from the Government of Qatar to end the kafala system of modern slavery, and plans further meetings with Qatar’s Labour Minister on implementing labour rights for two million migrant workers in the Gulf State.

“The new guidance from Qatar signals the start of real reforms in Qatar which will bring to an end the use of modern slavery and puts the country on the pathway to meeting its international legal obligations on workers’ rights. Following discussions in Doha there is a clear government commitment to normalise industrial protections for migrant workers,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

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ITF and Qatari government continue talks with aim of safeguarding transport workers’ rights

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) have begun a new round of talks with the Qatari government’s Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the rights of transport workers in Qatar.

They are the latest stage of a process begun via initial discussions between the Ministry and the ITF in 2016.

In the latest meeting, held at the ITF’s headquarters in London, both parties discussed effective ways and means that workers’ complaints can be safely aired and addressed. Both parties stated that their cooperation is based on a shared belief that the respect of international labour standards can help foster a positive working environment for transport workers.

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Joint Press Statement of ETF, ATCEUC and IFATSEA

Brussels, 26 September 2017

The undersigned ATM Professional Staff Organisations note with great regret yet another attack of Airlines for Europe (A4E) on the European Air Traffic Management in the form of a joint letter of A4E member airlines’ CEOs to the European Air Navigation Service providers (ANSPs). The letter enumerates a number of ATM-related issues as cause for the delays. We understand that delays and lack of capacity might be frustrating but every day ANSPs and their staff are doing the utmost to deliver safe and quality services to airlines and their passengers.

While recognising the constraints we as professional staff representatives believe that Europe should be proud of its ATM system. Given the different cultural and national backgrounds it is remarkable that we have been able to build a cooperative system that delivers such an incredibly high level of safety and efficiency. A4E, on the contrary, is very selective in terms of the numbers they portray as hard facts, demonstrating a self-centred point of view only directed at profit margins rather than at offering true benefits for the European citizens.

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