Members of the Wingspan Workers’ Union (WWU) have voted to admit workers from any aviation company across Thailand, not just those working for Wingspan.
This is a big step in the ITF airport organising programme strategy to organise outsourced, precarious and sub-contracted workers in Thai airports, and create a more powerful model of union organisation.
Outsourced jobs are where aviation is seeing a growth in employment, and the WWU is the only union representing private sector and outsourced workers in aviation in Thailand.
The WWU is part of the Airport Alliance Of Thai Trade Unions that is being supported by the ITF’s airport organising project and the State Enterprise Workers’ Relations Confederation (SERC) in Thailand.
ITF airport organising programme lead Erin van der Mass said: “Congratulations to the WWU activists and leadership for this brilliant achievement. And great work, solidarity and support from the SERC, ITF Airport coordinator Ussarin Kaewpradrap and the Airport Alliance Of Thai Trade Unions. This will massively contribute to the WWU’s growth and gives the Alliance a key vehicle to organise the unorganised workers at the airport.”
The court of appeals in Chile has backed workers of the Latam Express Union in their battle for justice following a strike in 2018.
The court unanimously held that the cabin crew union’s strike, which lasted 17 days, was lawfully terminated by the union on 25 April 2018.
Chilean labour law says a strike should only end when there is an agreement between the parties, which did not happen in this case despite the Labour Directorate of Chile erroneously claiming otherwise.
Silka Seitz, president of Sindicato de Tripulantes de Cabina de Lan Express (STCLE), said: “This marks a precedent for all other unions planning strike action in Chile. It is a triumph that ratifies that the union has a collective contract that cannot be degraded.”
In the ruling, the court noted that ‘it can be concluded that because the strike is a resource that the law devotes to workers, this right holds as the sole owner, in this case, the union, who therefore has always in their hands the decision to end the strike and go back to work.’
ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton praised the work of the STCLE: “The ITF congratulates the leadership of the union that was able to resist this unfair ruling for 16 months, even though it affected not only the finances of the organisation and the leaders as well. Thanks to their determination they have successfully defended the right to strike and achieved a remarkable victory for all workers in Chile.”
The STCLE is part of the ITF LATAM network of unions, who supported the strike and the legal action. Find out more about the network via its Facebook page and website.
Following secret negotiations, the United States and Argentinian governments have signed an Open Skies agreement. Veiled as a ‘modernising’ of the 1985 transport agreement, the deal is detrimental to workers and comes as a complete surprise to Argentinian and US unions.
Joseph Tiberi, chair of the civil aviation section of the ITF and chief of staff of transportation in the IAMAW (USA) has stated: “The ITF rejects this agreement as there are no labour provisions or protections for workers in either country.
“The governments declared the aim is to ‘benefit aviation workers’ but what we know is that completely deregulated agreements without any protection to workers like the one signed yesterday only bring deterioration of working conditions and loss of trained and experienced workers – that are usually replaced by new ones with lower conditions.
Edgardo Llano, vicechair of the civil aviation section of the ITF and general secretary of APA (Argentina) added: “We oppose this agreement negotiated in secret during a year without any consultation to any of the unions of either country. This shows clearly that there is no intention to benefit the workers.
“This agreement would give more capacity to the big corporations to relocate their operations without any possibility for the governments in both countries to protect their workers. Besides, the Transitional provision on Ground Handling in Argentina (Annex III) is illegal. The Argentinean government is promising the US services that will be illegal to deliver.
IAMAW and APA have pledged to coordinate lobby efforts and other actions among ITF unions in both countries.
Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary stated “We will support our unions in the USA and Argentina to fight against this unfair deal. We call on parliamentarians in both countries to oppose and reverse this deal.”
APA: Asociación del Personal Aeronáutico (Argentina)
IAMAW: International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (USA & Canada)
The dismissal of two union representatives fighting to improve working conditions for cabin crew employed at Atlantic Airways is unacceptable.
FPU and their local branch at Atlantic Airways have struggled to obtain a collective agreement on behalf of both pilots and cabin crew at Atlantic Airways.
FPU organizes the cabin crew in the company, and it has been the members wish to get their company to engage in negotiations. Atlantic Airways and the Faroese employers’ association has done everything to avoid these negotiations, as they do not want to negotiate with the FPU. Now the process has culminated in an unacceptable way with the dismissal of two union representatives without any ground.
The Nordic model is based on collective bargaining between the two sides of industry to shape the labour market; fundamental trade union rights are respected by the employer’s side.
Each worker has the freedom to organise along his/her choice, it is not the employer’s business. Going as far as dismissing worker representatives order to stop negotiations is illegal and unacceptable.
The ETF/ITF condemns the company’s undemocratic and primitive methods to avoid negotiating an agreement for the cabin crew. Such far-reaching actions should not take place in modern aviation where safety and high social standards are absolutely essential.
ETF/ITF fully supports the further actions of FPU for decent and fair working conditions and will push for the two union representatives to be reinstated. If the state-owned Atlantic Airways wants to be a serious and respected airline in aviation in Europe and beyond, they should start by respecting human rights.
The ITF Civil Aviation Section has been joined by the ETF Civil Aviation Section representing more than 80 unions with aviation workers in 41 countries in Europe, supporting the baggage handlers at the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile in their collective action against Swissport in order to achieve a pay rise.
The European aviation unions met in Brussels last week and expressed their support for their sisters and brothers in Chile. The workers and their union, the Union of Workers of Swissport (Sindicato de Trabajadores de Empresa Swissport Chile) have long been complaining to management about low wages, but their demands remained unheard.
On 9 May the workers began an indefinite strike and since then they have been courageously fighting for decent wages to compensate for price increases in food and other basic necessities. They are demanding a 3% raise plus value-added tax for a duration of 3 years. They also want paid vacations and holiday pay.
The local management is undermining the strike action by maintaining part of the operations through the use of strike-breakers.
After two months of unfruitful negotiations, a tripartite meeting called by the Labour Ministry mid-May, the baggage handlers have held a number of peaceful demonstrations with banners and pickets at the Swissport entrance. On 13 May, things turned ugly and the Chilean police attacked pickets using a water cannon. Some of the workers were arrested.
The ITF & ETF Civil Aviation Sections offer their solidarity and call for Swissport to accept the trade union demands for a pay rise.
In a decision with wide-ranging consequences for European aviation, a Belgian court has ruled that Ryanair cabin crew are subject to national labour law.
The ruling marks the latest episode in a legal saga involving the Irish low-cost carrier, which traditionally employed all its pan-European crew on Irish or British contracts as a way of minimising labour costs. In 2011, former Belgium-based crew sued Ryanair in a local court, alleging that they should have been employed in accordance with national law.
In September 2017, with the case escalated to the EU level, the European Court of Justice ruled that Ryanair crew have the right to take their employer to court in the country in which they are based for work. This was a decisive moment in workers challenging the airline’s exploitative business model, and partly led to Ryanair agreeing to recognise trade unions for the first time in December of that year.
Today’s ruling reaffirms that cabin crew should be subject to the labour standards of the country in which they are primarily based, regardless of the nationality of their employer or their international flight schedule. This is vital to ensuring that crew are not excluded from the fair treatment experienced by other workers, including national pay scales and social security.
ITF and ETF have been leading the transnational campaign to clean up Ryanair’s business model, demanding that all its workers are afforded trade union rights and fair pay and working conditions. We congratulate the Belgium-based crew and our affiliate CNE/LBC on their victory in court, and we now expect Ryanair to honour this ruling in all jurisdictions where it employs workers.
American Airlines has had difficulty with employee groups lately and morale is low. But with the stock price at an all-time low and the potential for employee action, can CEO Doug Parker possibly survive the summer?
I have written about American Airlines flight attendants and their displeasure for the carrier’s management and direction. I have also discussed the unions which have contributed to the blight of FAs comparatively to non-unionized compatriots at Delta. Now the mechanics are speaking up.
American Airlines mechanics have been negotiating a contract for years. At the risk of sounding like a millennial, “literally” years. That’s insane and the mechanics shouldn’t put up with it. There are always two sides to any argument and I am sure that the mechanics and their union have continued to fight over capitulation to management terms. But the stakes have been raised.
Transport unions across the USA are joining forces to back the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) in its campaign to organise Delta Air Lines.
Following endorsements from ITF affiliates in North America, earlier this week the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) became the latest union to publicly support the campaign. President Joseph G. DePete wrote to his IAM counterpart, Robert Martinez, expressing the solidarity of Delta’s already-unionised pilots with the ground and cabin crew now seeking union representation.
The campaign has already received a strong boost from the ITF-affiliated Transport Workers Union (TWU) and Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). APFA national president Lori Bassani spoke in support of the campaign at IAM’s recent transportation conference in Las Vegas, as did AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton.
ITF and its affiliates worldwide are supporting the campaign by meeting Delta cabin crew on their international layovers and sharing their experiences of improving aviation companies through unionisation. You can find out more about the campaign here.