Sunday, September 26, 2010

Civil Aviation and Freight Upturn Ignores Workers Say Union Representatives

ITF call on IATA for a Response to Their Request for Talks
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – In recent months we have heard head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) talk up the figures for passenger carriage and airfreight combined, obviously pleased at traffic improvements in both sectors. Despite an occasional cautionary note Mr Giovanni Bisignani the Director General and CEO of the group has been largely positive about the upward trend. Now however he finds himself in the firing line from workers representatives.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) which represents over four and a half million transport workers in 154 countries have criticised the IATA boss for ignoring their efforts to initiate four way talks between the two groups and the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)saying they wrote to IATA in January with a view to mitigating the effects of the financial downturn for the 635,000 aviation workers the ITF represent globally.

Speaking recently on the apparent partial recovery in aviation industry fortunes, Mr Bisignani stated that: “It is a significant improvement, much stronger than forecast, but it’s no time for a big celebration, just a small party.” He added that the 2010 profit forecast is more than three times the $2.5bn IATA predicted only three months ago.

ITF Civil Aviation Secretary Gabriel Mocho commented:

“We read the latest speeches by Signor Bisignani with a certain regret. While IATA celebrates the upturn, workers are not invited to the party. They are facing their own crisis, with the loss for thousands and thousands of them, of their livelihoods.

“Meanwhile IATA appears to be unwilling to discuss the negative effects of the crisis with the ITF and the stakeholders in the industry within the framework of the ILO. We have studied this speech, and its thorough analysis on profits, yields, fuel cost and environmental issues, region by region but we haven’t found a single mention of workers.”

Mr Mocho went on to stress the ITF still wanted to go ahead with talks and publicly requested that IATA demonstrated their awareness of the effects of the crisis on their workers and show their willingness to discuss the matter.