The Social Partners representing employers and workers in the European Ground Handling – ACI Europe (ACI), Airport Services Association (ASA) and European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) – met on 8 and 9 December 2016 in Barcelona to discuss the issues of market access and social conditions in the ground handling industry. This workshop was part of an EU co-financed project in the framework of social dialogue.


The aim of the project is to prepare social partners’ views in light of the assessment of the Directive 96/67/EC that was announced as part of the Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe. Before the workshop, an extensive research has been conducted by the consultant company Syndex consisting of desktop and questionnaire research.

The participants agreed that market opening without social regulation has caused excessive pressure both on the ground handling companies and workers. There is a need for rules that will ensure level playing field and binding social protection for the workforce.


Therefore, all the three organisations will continue their joint efforts to have a sustainable and fair ground handling sector. The next workshop taking place in February 2017 will look at quality and training standards. Finally, the closing conference in April 2017 will present the outcome of the project to a wider audience.

FTTUB was represented at the workshop by its International Relations and Civil Aviation expert Antonia Panayotova who is also a member of the Steering Committee of the project, as well as by Petranka Shomova, a chairman of FTTUB’s  trade union organisation at Varna Airport and by Albena Vasileva from FTTUB’s organisation at Sofia Airport.