European Parliament adopts an incomplete social position on Ground Handling Services

16 Apr 2013

Today, Tuesday 16 April 2013, the European Parliament (EP) has adopted its Position on ground handling services at EU airports. It contains a revised set of rules which opens the market and only protects some categories of workers in case of call for tenders or partial loss of activities. The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) is highly concerned about a new Regulation that discriminates in the protection of workers with unnecessary job losses in the ground handling sector as a consequence.

The ETF, representing more than 130,000 ground staff workers, regrets that the EP has decided to support the Commission proposal to further open the market. Regardless ETF’s view that some efforts have been made to socially improve the Commission proposal, more needs to be done to ensure a proper protection of the ground handling workers.

ETF Political Secretary, François Ballestero states: “First of all, the protection of workers in case of call for tenders or partial loss of activities is not foreseen for all categories of workers, therefore it can be considered as discriminatory. Secondly, the widening of the definition of self-handling, which includes the category of “integrators”, creates more confusion than clarity. Moreover, it introduces a great danger: that any self-handler is allowed to provide third party handling, even via subcontracting, without control mechanisms. This creates a situation which facilitates and even encourages a greater deregulation of the market.”

Therefore, the ETF calls the EU Institutions, including the EP, to urgently agree on the necessary amendments, to be tabled for the second reading, which ensure the Regulation becomes a piece of modern legislation aiming to protect workers’ rights rather than giving priority to further open the market. To do so, two amendments are crucial to improve the EP Position: the first amendment must safeguard the transfer of staff for all ground handling categories (Art. 12); the second amendment needs to clarify and limit the scope of self-handling for integrators (Art. 2).

Ingo Kronsfoth, Chair of the ETF Ground Staff Committee, comments: “Even though the ETF is dissatisfied with the final outcome of today’s vote in the EP, we are also grateful for the support received from those MEPs who ensured the inclusion of the provision that obliges the application of a representative collective agreement for all companies. It will improve the protection of ground handling workers in a number of EU-member states against social dumping. However, the ETF will continue its fight aiming at the adoption of a more social Ground Handling Regulation at the second reading.”

For more information: François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary, +32 474916979.