A masked and gagged cabin crew member protested outside a global airline show in London this week ahead of an address by a Qatar Airways executive.
The protest, during day two of the World Low Cost Airlines Congress, was part of the ongoing ITF campaign against the airline, which denies its workers the right to join a union. They could also face punishment if they speak publicly about their treatment by management.
Rossen Dimitrov, who works for the airline in customer experience, gave an address to senior executives who are from airlines all over the world.
Gabriel Mocho, secretary of the ITF civil aviation section said: “The powerful image of this cabin crew member with her mouth taped up says it all. Crew who work for Qatar Airways have no voice because they aren’t allowed to organise and they are put in a position where they are scared to speak up about their experiences of working for the airline.”
The ITF welcomed major developments in the campaign on staff rights at Qatar Airways last month when the airline admitted that it had removed prohibitions on pregnancy and marriage from workers’ contracts. Previous contracts required employees to notify management of a pregnancy, at which point they were likely to lose their job. Staff were also banned from getting married for their first five years at the airline, and even after that point they still had to ask permission. The ITF will be monitoring how these contractual changes are implemented in practice to bring about real improvements for workers.