ETF demands MEPs to vote for a more social Ground Handling Regulation

In December 2012, the European Parliament (EP) decided to refer the European Commission’s proposal on ground handling services at EU airports back to the responsible committees. For the ETF, the aim of the EP was clear: sending out a political message that the new Regulation must avoid at all cost further job losses and deterioration of workers’ rights in the ground handling sector.

The ETF regrets that, fifteen days ago, the TRAN (the EP Transport and Tourism Committee) has decided backing a further opening of the market.

Three months after the vote in the EP plenary, it is the ETF’s view that very little efforts have been applied within the committees in charge of amending the Commission’s proposal. Far from being enough, more effort needs to be applied to ensure a proper protection of the ground handling workers. So far, the ETF is dissatisfied with the results of the work done by the EMPL (EP Employment and Social Affairs Committee) and the TRAN. Firstly, the protection of workers in case of call for tenders or partial loss of activities is not foreseen for all categories of workers. Secondly, the widening of the definition of selfhandling (to include the category of “integrators”) creates more confusion than clarity and introduces a great danger: that any self-handler can provide third party handling, even through subcontracting, without any ownership and control mechanisms and with the risks of forcing a total opening of the market.

Therefore, the ETF calls the MEPs in charge of this important dossier to agree rapidly on the necessary amendments to the Zasada (TRAN) and Mann (EMPL) reports in such a way that the Regulation becomes a piece of modern legislation with the aim to protect workers’ rights at the same level as it aims to further opening the market. To do so, two amendments must be tabled at the plenary meeting of the EP that will vote on the 2 reports on 16 April 2013: the first amendment needs to safeguard transfer of staff for all ground handling categories in a binding solution (Art. 12 – Thomas Mann’s report); the second amendment needs to clarify and to limit the scope of self-handling for integrators (Art. 2 – Arthur Zasada’s report).

For more information: François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary, +32 474916979