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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’
Federation (ETF) today warned that Ryanair’s business model of outsourcing and the rejection of staff requests for better conditions and union representation is putting the airline’s future in doubt.
The ITF revealed that, following the defeat for Ryanair/Crewlink at the European Court of
Justice last week, it has been approached by a number of investors who are concerned by
analysts’ estimates that compliance with the judgement will increase Ryanair’s labour costs by
up to 20 percent – leading them to question the sustainability of its aggressive and cost-cutting
On 14 September 2017 the European Court of Justice ruled that disputes over a cabin crew member’s contract of employment fall within the jurisdiction of the courts of the country from which they carry out their duties. This ruling will put an end to the unfair practices of Ryanair who insists that only Irish courts are competent. This is a BIG VICTORY for all aviation workers in Europe.
We learnt this very good news during the ETF ‘Fair Aviation for All’ first seminar in Tallinn and all participants applauded to the ECJ decision.
The full ETF/ITF press release can be found below :
ECJ ruling is ‘defeat for Ryanair and victory for workers’ rights’
14 September 2017
The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and ETF (European Transport Workers’ Federation) have welcomed a ruling today by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as a major defeat for Ryanair on workers’ rights. The Court established that disputes over a cabin crew member’s contract of employment fall within the jurisdiction of the courts of the country from which they carry out their duties – not those of a country such as Ireland which the airline might choose to suit its own interests.
The ruling in the joined cases of Nogueira et al vs Crewlink (Ryanair’s recruitment agency) and Osacar vs Ryanair, establishes the rights of mobile aviation workers to have their grievances heard under the laws of the country from which they work. It determines that an employee can sue his or her employer at a court which he or she regards as closest to him or her. This is a vital step for those who need to seek redress in matters relating to individual contracts of employment.
The ruling brought together multiple cases of cabin crew members from Belgium, Spain and Portugal, all of whom had had employment problems (such as wrongful dismissal cases) with Ryanair/Crewlink, which had attempted to have them heard in Ireland, irrespective of where the crew members lived and worked.
ITF general secretary Steve Cotton explained: “This ruling is a defeat for Ryanair and a victory for workers’ rights. It upholds the fundamental principle of protecting mobile workers in aviation by ensuring that they can hold their employer to account in the country from which they genuinely discharge their duties – not in a nation which they may never have visited and whose courts are foreign and based hundreds of miles from home and place of work.”
Eduardo Chagas, general secretary of the ETF commented: ““I am confident that this ruling will empower the workers in all airlines that want to circumvent national law and pick the jurisdiction that best serves their interests. The home base from which you work is the obvious criterion when defending the legitimate labour rights of mobile staff inside the EU.
“I would like to pay respect to the workers and their unions who stood up and fought for their rights. This this ruling is an important victory in the fight against social dumping in aviation.
“I would also like to thank the ITF/ETF-affiliated CNE union from Belgium for supporting this ground-breaking court case”
The ruling followed a question asked by the Labour Court of Mons (Belgium) and has today found that under Regulation (EC) 44/2001 a crew member can sue their employer in front of the appropriate labour court. This is a major setback for Ryanair, which has been claiming for years that only Irish courts can hear cases from anyone of any nationality and any home base who works for it, since, among other things, its aircraft are registered in Ireland.
On 13-15 September in Tallinn, Estonia was held the first seminar of “Fair Aviation for All” project. It was attended by activists from all over Europe and was dedicated to the EU and international regulatory framework on social rights and labour standards in aviation. FTTUB sent two representatives to the training – Antonia Panayotova and Elitsa Bikova.
This two-year ETF project with the financial support of the EU is aimed at capacity building and educating workers’ representatives to understand better the current regulatory framework in order to be able to come up with concrete proposals vis-à-vis the EU institutions, the Member States and the other stakeholders. In preparation for the main events of the project, a desk research will be performed by an external consultant on the regulatory framework of EU and international aviation with a special focus on social rights and labour standards, taking into account EU-level legislation, as well as the documents of the International Labour Organisations (ILO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The main events of the project are three seminars on EU and international regulatory framework on social rights and labour standards in aviation and on its strengths and loopholes. The third seminar of the project will take place in Varna, Bulgaria next June. The project will end in November 2018 with a final conference “Fair Aviation for All”.
FTTUB is represented in the Steering committee of the project by Antonia Panayotova, FTTUB International Relations expert and ETF Civil Aviation Section Vice-president.