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ILO civil aviation forum opens way for regular social dialogue

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David Cockroft

David Cockroft

1 March 2013 – The ILO has reported that its tripartite meeting on civil aviation concluded with a call for a “sustainable civil aviation industry” as a “common goal for governments, employers and workers” and noted that to achieve this goal “the industry needs a sustainable workforce, sustainable enterprises and a balanced value chain”.

Over 60 union representatives were among the 150 delegates at the ILO’s Global Dialogue Forum on the Effects of the Global Economic Crisis on the Civil Aviation Industry in Geneva from 20-22 February. This was the first time in 10 years that civil aviation unions from around the world had met with employers and governments to discuss the issue.

On the agenda were the major challenges facing the industry, including the impact on wages, safety standards and employment conditions of low-cost carriers, mergers, acquisitions and outsourcing.   Governments, employers and workers agreed on the need to continue to promote decent work in the civil aviaition industry through the effective implementation of ILO standards and instruments. They also agreed that the ILO has a key role in facilitating social dialogue in the industry, while governments are required as regulators.

David Cockroft, ITF general secretary, commented: “The aviation industry has gone through a series of crises and changes which have seriously impacted its ability to attract and retain a highly skilled workforce, something which is crucial to the safety of passengers and workers alike. One key decision of this meeting was to convene employers, unions and governments on a regular basis to promote social dialogue in the industry and to monitor the implementation of the recommendations adopted by the Forum.  In this respect, we look forward to the upcoming ICAO Air Transport Conference to be held in Montreal in March.”  

ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho added: “If properly followed up, this forum could open up new opportunities for unions to discuss our issues. Sadly, however, we still have avoidable disputes like the current one with Iberia, where workers’ calls for dialogue have been ignored by management, resulting in workers and passengers paying a high price while CEO Willie Walsh enjoys big bonuses.”  

Among the meeting’s recommendations were that the ILO should create a level-playing field for all actors, and further strengthen social dialogue and workplace cooperation; and that the ILO should convey the points of consensus from the Global Dialogue Forum to the Sixth Worldwide Air Transport Conference of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).

Ahead of the forum, the ILO published a new report, ‘Civil aviation and its changing world of work’, which explores many of the issues discussed at the tripartite meeting.

(source: ITF)

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