The liberalisation of air transport in the early 1990’s has brought benefits to the travelling public in terms of democratisation, cheaper air fares and a diversified offer. But who pays the price? Jobs in aviation that used to be prestigious and high-quality are disappearing. Instead of a competition based on quality and affordability of the service, the situation turned into a race to the bottom. The ETF has identified social dumping as one of its key priorities for the future and adopted concrete proposals to address our concerns. But it is clear that ETF cannot act alone and we need support of national unions organising aviation workers. One of the most advanced countries in Europe in terms of fight against social dumping is Denmark. In this article we take a look at a concrete initiative taken by the social partners in cooperation with the Danish government.
After preliminary discussions in the Danish Aviation Council, the Transport Minister has sent a letter to the European Commissioner for Transport in June 2014, asking for concrete measures to fight social dumping in aviation. As a follow-up, a dedicated working group of the Danish Aviation Council has been created to look at the issue in depth. According to the mandate given, the group shall map the size of the problem and come with concrete proposals on how to prevent social dumping in the context of Danish and European legislation. On the trade union side, the group consisted of several ETF affiliates, namely the United Federation of Danish Workers (3F), Danish Flight Personnel Union (FPU), The Union of Commercial and Clerical Employees (HK), Danish Metalworkers’ Union and Cabin Union Denmark (CUD).
The group acknowledges that aviation is a truly international industry and that liberalisation has created opportunities. However, it also raises different issues with regards to employment models and terms of employment. On international level, social dumping in aviation is particularly linked to cherry picking among different countries’ rules. At first sight, this practice seems to be legitimate and in line with the current EU rules. However, the group also found examples of exploitation, of unintentional differences in the rules and their implementation in the Member States.
As a result of its work, the experts proposed the following key measures to address social dumping:
The ETF welcomes this initiative and will ensure coordination with possible actions in other member states. François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary, commented: “We are happy that concrete proposals included in the working group’s report are going into the same direction as ETF proposals for fighting social dumping. ETF affiliates from other countries are invited to take similar initiatives to fight social dumping.”
You can download the report of the Danish Aviation Council’s working group below.