ETF responds to Eurocontrol’s Hardtalk series: A balanced approach is needed towards CEOs and industry leaders

10 Sep 2020

Following the first of Eurocontrol’s Hardtalk series of interviews, ETF calls on the international organisation to rethink their approach to giving industry leaders a platform without challenging their labour practices.

In a letter addressed to Eamonn Brennan, Eurocontrol’s Director General, ETF welcomes the focus of the interview series on the question of re-building the industry after COVID-19, but questions the biased selection of guests.

This week’s interview with József Váradi confirmed ETF’s concerns about notorious airline CEOs being given a platform to declare their views and not be questioned on them. Váradi was very clear on his belief that free market is a universal solution to all the issues of European aviation. The fact that market solutions are often short-sighted and benefit only a lucky few at the expense of others was overlooked entirely. It’s highly inappropriate not to question such views in an industry that’s been characterised with liberalisation for decades now, resulting in deteriorating working conditions impacting the workforce and their families across Europe. Wizz Air’s track record of anti-union beliefs and behaviours was also not addressed at any point. With social dialogue being key to a strong recovery of the industry, such an oversight is not acceptable.

In the letter, ETF’s Head of Aviation, Josef Maurer, calls on Eurocontrol to take into account that during the COVID-19 pandemic, “actions of some of the biggest aviation players have been opportunistic and destructive and in many cases have undermined all the efforts made by trade unions to come up with a common, sector-wide solution to the crisis. It would be much appreciated if you could take the aspect of social conditions and the impact of the biggest aviation players’ actions on society into consideration in your next talks.

To present a more nuanced view of the sector and potentials to rebuild after the crisis, ETF urges Eurocontrol to take a more inclusive approach and ensure that organisations representing workers get a chance to speak out as well.

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