European aviation has been amongst the first industries to be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and will be one of the hardest hit. Support to the workforce and the industry will ensure a lifeline for the sector that will guarantee its recovery after the pandemic. ETF calls for conditional financial aid to aviation-sector companies and immediate support to all workers in civil aviation, with special attention given to the most vulnerable among them.
Workers that make European aviation move are a heterogeneous group – from aircrew, over air traffic management to ground handling, catering and cleaning staff. In large parts of aviation, precarious work prevails over traditional work contracts, and zero-hour contracts or temporary agency work are booming. Precarious workers’ salaries are significantly below national averages and in some cases even below the poverty line. These groups of workers were immediately affected by the COVID-19 crisis as they had no reserve to fall back on.
ETF calls on the European Institutions and the Member States to put in place a rescue plan consisting of direct support for workers as well as conditional financial aid to aviation-sector companies.
Financial assistance can only be granted if the respective company respects job retention and income protection measures. All aviation companies must be aware of their social responsibility and make sure that their most valuable asset – the workforce – is adequately protected.
Any financial aid to aviation-sector companies should also be conditional on a ban on pay-out of dividends to shareholders in 2020 (as a minimum) and a ban on stock buybacks by companies.
EU must ensure that the European idea of integration and democracy materialises for the working people and specifically for the most vulnerable.
The statement detailing ETF demands is available to download in English and French.