US-European transport unions call for rejection NAI’s flag of convenience scheme

25 Nov 2014

In a joint declaration, signed on 24 November 2014, trade union organisations representing transport workers from the USA and Europe urge the respective governments to reject the flag of convenience scheme that Norwegian Air International (NAI) is setting up. The signatory parties* insist on the strong enforcement of safety and security rules and the so-called ‘social clause’ (Article 17bis of the US Air Transport Agreement or ATA).

Today, 25 November 2015, the EU-US Joint Committee discusses the issue of NAI and its request for a foreign air carrier permit. The unions are gravely concerned that the proposed NAI business model’s primary objective is to circumvent legislation, avoiding the application of Norway’s labour, social and tax laws and evading existing collective bargaining agreements. In addition, it has been reported that NAI hires air crews based in Thailand on individual employment contracts via a Singaporean hiring agency.

Therefore, the joint declaration calls on the EU-US Joint Committee to “take the actions needed to promote positive growth, the creation of middle class airline jobs, and the highest standards for safety and security in the transatlantic aviation marketplace”.

François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary for Civil Aviation, commented: “The social clause, adopted in the 2nd stage of the negotiations, was a big achievement for workers on both sides of the Atlantic. We insist that this article becomes an integral part of the agreement and is being applied in the same way as all other provisions of the ATA. Thus, the dubious employment model of NAI cannot be allowed by the US authorities.”

* The joint declaration has been signed by the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), Parat, European Cockpit Association and Norsk Flygerforbund (Norwegian ALPA) on the EU side. On the US side, the signatory partners are the Association of Flight Attendants, International Air Line Pilots Association, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Transport Workers Union  and Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.