6 August 2013 – Seventeen women civil aviation workers from ITF affiliates worldwide including pilots, cabin crew, mechanics, baggage handlers and air traffic controllers participated in a leadership programme for women trade unionists in Esher, UK last week. It was co-designed and delivered by Alison McGarry, ITF women’s coordinator and Dr Elaine Bernard, executive director of Harvard Labour and Worklife Programme.
The ITF programme aims to build on women’s existing qualities and experiences to support them in becoming stronger leaders, building more powerful unions. Running from 29 July to 2 August, a range of leadership activities and tools were shared — from alliance building and strategic planning to organising.
The group heard two engaging and experienced speakers – Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez, ITF civil aviation and tourism secretary and Alicia Castro, ITF women’s committee and executive board member and current Argentinian ambassador to the UK. Alicia highlighted the importance of women pushing themselves forward to become trade union leaders..
Participant Alina Milusheva, of the ITF-affiliated Federation of Transport Trade Unions in Bulgaria, was full of praise for the programme, saying it was exceptionallyinteresting and educational. She called it the “best of [her] ITF career.”
McGarry praised the dynamics of the group: “Some stunning and encouraging work happened because of the teamwork, support and contribution of all those who participated.” Dr Bernard agreed: “The organising and negotiating examples were extremely powerful and demonstrated the leadership traits of the civil aviation sisters.”