Friday, January 29, 2010

Union Calls On Air Freight And Passenger Transport Bodies To Act On IATA Report

Air Transport Figures Prompt Cry for Unity
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) which represents the interests of 4.6 million workers in over 750 trades unions globally, and numbers over 635,000 aviation workers amongst them, today called for dialogue between all the relevant parties involved in the industry in an all out attempt to resolve the ongoing problems brought on by the recession. The call came following the revelations on the parlous state of commercial aviation by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) this week.

The message to IATA and other leading industry bodies the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), tripartite UN Agency the International Labour Organization, Governments and employers was of the need to show leadership and foresight in order to resolve the crisis. Invitations were forwarded directly to everyone the ITF felt should be involved together with a statement agreed by representatives of the associated member aviation unions.

The ITF were keen to draw all parties attention to the recently published study entitled ‘The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Labour in the Civil Aviation Industry’ by Professor Peter Turnbull of Cardiff University and Dr. Geraint Harvey of Swansea University which was commissioned by the ITF. The principal point raised was the increasing popularity of the low cost carrier model which has caused restructuring and, in the ITF view, treats workers as ‘expandable’ (sic).

These arguments are more relevant in terms of passenger carriage but freight carriers are also faced with the need to reduce overheads and impose more on staff in order to compete. It is hard to envisage that in an industry as large and diverse as aviation with its high overheads, stringent safety requirements and susceptibility to market fluctuations any consensus to resolve the problems is going to be easy.