European Commission must act on social agenda Aviation Strategy for Europe

21 Feb 2017

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the largest European workers’ representative in civil aviation, welcomes the European Parliament (EP) resolution on an Aviation Strategy for Europe adopted on 16 February 2017. ETF calls upon the European Commission to follow up on the EP’s social recommendations by turning them into binding legislative proposals and thus contribute to obtaining fair transport in Europe.

Unlike the Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe, the EP resolution addresses a number of topics that are important for European aviation workers, such as the need to clarify the definitions of principal place of business and home base, the call on EASA and the Member States to scrutinise new business and employment models in order to ensure aviation safety, the importance of high-quality training, the encouragement to protect workers’ rights and prevent abuses by clarifying labour legislation and social security. ETF also welcomes the emphasis on fair competition and level playing field both in the internal market and vis-à-vis third countries, which is one of the demands formulated in the ETF vision on Fair Transport.

Anu Hietala and Oliver Richardson, ETF Civil Aviation Section Presidents, commented: “After many years of dogmatic liberalisation that focused solely on driving the costs down, we are happy to see a proposal that gives some hope to European aviation workers. Provided that they will be transposed into concrete binding legislation, these proposals can go part way to reverting the current trend and make the sector socially sustainable and attractive for workers.”

Several amendments introduced by the MEPs and reflected in the final text of the resolution almost literally mirror the ETF proposals adopted in view of the Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe. They are not limited to mobile staff in aviation but also concern ground and air traffic management staff. ETF welcomes the commitment to include ground handling into the scope of EASA. However, the workers’ representative remains very cautious regarding the proposal on the establishment of the so-called single European upper flight information region (EUIR) which could – under the pretext of ensuring continuity – limit the rights of workers enshrined in EU Treaties.

François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary for Civil Aviation, added: ‘ETF, together with its national affiliates, will continue to push the European Commission to properly implement the recommendations given by the European Parliament and to come up with solid proposals against social dumping in European aviation. In addition, and in particular, ETF is totally opposed to any Commission attempt to limit the right to strike for Air Traffic Controllers’.

ETF expresses gratitude towards the Members of the European Parliament, and in particular EP Employment Committee rapporteur Ole Christensen, who have taken on board proposals that rebalance the European aviation market at social level.

For more information, please contact François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary for Civil Aviation, E-Mail:, Mobile: +32 474916979