GUE/NGL – Hearing on Tracking the EU Aviation Sector flight route
Current cases and future prospects

European Parliament ASP 01 G2
Tuesday 12 January 2016
9:00h – 12:30h

Welcome speech by hosting MEPs

9:20 – 10:20
Commission's new Aviation Package- Social and safety aspects

Enrique CARMONA, Chair of the ETF Civil Aviation Section

10:25 – 11:25
The privatization case of 14 top Greek regional airports
Chairman of PanHellenic Association of Civil Aviation Employees
Lambros NTOUSIKOS, Coordinating Member of the PanHellenic Initiative Against the Privatization of Airports


The case of Air-France: New restructuring plan with 2900 layoffs
Philippe JURAVER,
national secretary of the Parti de Gauche, in charge of social struggle and organisation in companies
David RICATTE, CGT and Air-France pilot



Short report on GUE/NGL initiative:

“Tracking the EU Aviation Sector flight route: Current cases and future prospects”


Following the release of the Commission's new Aviation Package, the GUE/NGL group organised a hearing on this issue in order to debate what is behind this new agenda.

Although the Aviation Strategy intends to integrate social aspects, safety and security, as well as measures to restore fair competition, the right balance has not been achieved and binding regulations to enforce a social dialogue, a high level of security standards and working conditions are lacking.

Using external competition as an excuse, the aviation sector is lowering its quality jobs and security levels, promoting the liberalisation and privatisation of services, precarious employment contracts and endangering security standards.

Enrique Carmona, ETF Civil Aviation Section President, commented: “This strategy focuses on market competition instead of on workers' safety. The agreement should lay the foundations for minimum social standards to be agreed at the EU level that would be applied globally. One of our key demands is to help to set out this framework through social dialogue.”

The Greek government is about to privatise, for a period of 40+10 years, 14 of its most important regional airports and these contracts are being negotiated without any transparency, with Lufthansa, one of the HRADF advisers, as part of Fraport, the company which is going to buy all these assets.

According to Lambros Ntousikos, Coordinating Member of the Hellenic Initiative Against the Privatisation of Airports “It's basically a geostrategic attempt to undermine Greece's sovereignty; these airports are established on touristic islands, therefore the income generated will not benefit the Greek people.”

Moreover, Fraport is already known for its precarious working conditions in other airports that they own, namely in the USA. As MEP Kouneva pointed out: “We have seen what happened over there. We need to raise awareness among unions about what Fraport has already done in the other airports they own.”

The case of Air France and its restructuring plan was also on the hearing's agenda. Representatives of Air France's trade unions took the floor to tell participants about the staff reduction policy that has been put in place since 2008 and that is planning to lay off 2900 workers. Also using the excuse of becoming more competitive and facing up to the competition of low-cost companies, Air France has pursued a policy of fear and precariousness, reducing up to 90% of the trade unions' capacity to fight against this market strategy.

All these elements are included in a hidden agenda aiming to boost competition through reducing wages and working conditions for this purpose. “We as the European Parliament should work together with the aviation sector. We are the group that puts people first,” said MEP Sofia Sakorafa.

Nikos Chountis added: “The conclusion of today's event is that the European left, workers and civil society will continue their resistance against austerity policies and privatization, as well as, their struggle in defence of public goods, flight security and employees' rights.”

This hearing was hosted by GUE/NGL MEPs Nikolaos Chountis, Sofia Sakorafa and Jean-Luc Mélenchon.