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.
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.
Brussels, 20 July 2017
The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the European Cockpit Association (ECA)
met with the Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc and the Employment Commissioner Marianne
Thyssen for talks on the many and diverse social challenges facing the hundreds of thousands of
aviation professionals they represent. Following those discussions, ETF and ECA warmly welcome
the joint commitment made by the Commissioners to deliver a social package for aviation in 2018
and to bring the Juncker Commission’s social pillar to life in the aviation sector.
Dirk Polloczek, ECA President, said: “For too long, aviation and its highly mobile workers have been
treated differently to other workers, with aviation’s often separate regime used to enable bogus self-
employment, artificial temporary agency worker status or even ‘pay-to-fly’, where the pilot ends up
paying more to fly the aircraft than the passengers do for a seat. ”
Oliver Richardson, ETF Civil Aviation Section President, added: “We now see the EU wet-leasing rules
being used to break a lawful industrial action while putting safety and security at stake. The EU must
stop practices that favour freedom of provision of services over workers’ rights. We need a clear
definition of principal place of business in order to avoid letterbox companies as well as a
consolidated definition of home base ensuring proper application of labour law. At the same time, a
revision of the Single Permit Directive is needed to extend its application to mobile workers in
aviation and prevent social dumping in case third-country crewmembers work on board of EUregistered airplanes”.
Against this background, ETF and ECA stand ready to assist Commissioners Thyssen and Bulc in any
possible way to help build aviation’s social pillar. Both organisations strongly hope that the
commitment of the Commissioners to deliver a social package for aviation will materialize in the
form of strong and binding rules protecting European aviation professionals. This will contribute to
the overall aim to ensure level playing field in European aviation.
This week, the ETF headquarters hosted a marathon of important aviation meetings that set the agenda for the upcoming period. On Monday, the Steering Committee met to prepare the work of the Section. On Tuesday, the EASA Strategic Group discussed the changes of the legislative framework of the Agency, the internal structure as well as current rulemaking tasks.
This was followed by the meetings of the three Committees (Air Traffic Management, Cabin Crew incl. Pilot Working Group and Ground Staff) dealing with the specific issues for the individual groups. And on Wednesday, the whole Civil Aviation Section got together to deal with a heavy agenda relating to the defence of aviation workers’ rights. Among other things, it included a new and strong campaign on Ryanair that will be implemented in close cooperation with ITFaviation.
Finally, the ETF delegation is attending today (Thursday, 22 June) the Plenary meeting of the Civil Aviation Sectoral Social Dialogue.
Among the topics discussed, we have the changes on the employers’ side representation, the EASA Basic Regulation, Regulation (EC) 1008/2008 on air services or the consultation of the Civil Aviation Social Dialogue Committee.
Brussels, 8 June 2017
ETF strongly opposes recommendations in Connected Aviation Package
attacking Air Traffic Controllers’ fundamental rights
As part of its package entitled ‘Open and connected Europe’, the European Commission announced today its recommendations on the so-called service continuity, including measures affecting the right to strike. The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) strongly deplores this attempt to limit indirectly this fundamental right guaranteed by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights by proposing measures such as individual notification, protection of overflights and air traffic peak periods.
The proposed measures significantly encroach the national sovereignty of Member States and contradict the Article 153 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which clearly states that the right to strike is excluded from EU competencies. This article must be understood as a whole, including the way this right is being organised at national level.
Charles-André Quesnel, Chair of the ETF Air Traffic Management Committee, commented: “The aim of the proposed notification at individual level is to attack the collective power of trade unions and we cannot tolerate this. The proposed measures are in breach of EU Treaties and we reserve the right to challenge them at the European Court of Justice.”
In an earlier study based on official EU data and entitled ‘Efficiency, capacity and growth in European aviation’, the ETF together with ATCEUC have demonstrated that while blaming the air traffic controllers, the airlines themselves are responsible for over 50 percent of flight delays in Europe. Furthermore, the study shows that guaranteeing minimum services, which are in place in several EU Member States, are an ineffective measure.
The ETF is also reserved on the proposal to guarantee 100 percent of overflights in countries affected by industrial action and to use air traffic controllers from other countries as strike-breakers. Apart from the fact that this would circumvent the right to strike, it may also have serious safety consequences due to the lack of sector-specific training for these “universal” controllers.
François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary for Civil Aviation, added: “It is regrettable that the Commission is copy-pasting measures proposed by the lobby organisation of the European airlines. Under the populistic pretext of passenger protection they once again give preference to profit before people. Instead of attacking fundamental rights we urge the Commission to propose recommendations to the airlines to create quality jobs instead of installing social dumping all over Europe.”