Social sustainability must be kept at the core of all future engagements part of the Toulouse declaration

4 Feb 2022

The ETF welcomes the Declaration on future sustainability and decarbonisation in aviation, or the so-called Toulouse declaration adopted today during the Aviation Summit under the French presidency of the Council of the EU.

The Aviation Summit, a flagship event for aviation of the French Presidency, gathered EU ministers, the European Commission, the ICAO president, the Directors General of Civil Aviation, members of the European Civil Aviation Conference, and stakeholders representing the air transport in Toulouse, France.

During the two days of the Summit, participants debated around the resilience of air transport in the context of the health crisis and the reduction of the sector’s carbon footprint. There were also dedicated discussions covering the interplay of these challenges on a technological and social level.

During her intervention today at the Aviation Summit, Livia Spera, the General Secretary of the ETF, outlined the important role that aviation workers have had in this pandemic, and called on the end of precarious work, and the creation of a fairer industry which ensures workers are protected. She made clear that workers will be at the frontline of the transition to a green and digital Europe and insisted that such a transition must be a just transition.

Yet, she underlined that there are conditions in place for trade unions to continue supporting carbon neutrality, beyond the fact that the trade unions recognise the need for systemic change in the aviation sector. According to her, ‘the transport’s transition to neutrality must be done fairly while ensuring meaningful and inclusive social dialogue at all stages. We need to ensure quality jobs built around workers, with fair pay, free access to join a trade union, and without social malpractices. And, as we transition to a greener and more digital future, there will also be the need for solid future investments in new skills, R&D, upskilling and reskilling, to allow our workers to adapt to new technologies and the work’s specificities in this sector.’

ETF was the only representative of trade unions taking the floor during the Aviation Summit, but spoke on behalf of all trade unions party to the Declaration – ETUC, EFFAT, UNI Europa, IndustriAll Europe and ECA – together supporting the decarbonisation plan for air transport during the Aviation Summit.

The “Declaration on future sustainability and decarbonisation of aviation”- or Toulouse declaration – was signed today by most significant sectors in the aviation, aerospace and tourism industries, including all employers’ organisations. The signatories will now focus their work towards the triennial assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) scheduled for autumn 2022, and push for more ambitious environmental aims in line with ambitions set at the Cop26.