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ETF to stop all activities linked to DG MOVE in ATM field over attacks to jobs and working conditions

ETF has decided to stop all activities related to DG MOVE in the air traffic management field for the next three months, after receiving several reports of employers being pushed by two of DG MOVE officials to lower ANSPs’ labour costs. ETF believes these activities are in line with the interests of airspace users. However, their interests cannot be protected and favoured over workers’ interests. This demonstrates, once again, the strong influence of airspace users over the European Commission to the detriment of other actors in the aviation system.

With these actions, the Commission has overstepped the boundaries of its role. Its duty is not to come up with such suggestion, as the institution does not have any competences regarding working relations between employers and employees. Such behaviour is also in conflict with the work of national authorities and tries to undermine them. National authorities have taken different approaches to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, and many put various employment protections in place to prevent a social crisis. It is unclear why two European civil servants believe it is in their power to push for laying off ANSPs’ employees and cutting their pay.

The main motive behind these lobbying efforts seems to be a desire to take advantage of an already difficult situation for the aviation industry. ANSPs have been facing a total absence of revenues since the beginning of March while maintaining 24/7 services. The work and dedication of ETF members need to be recognised, and all efforts directed at supporting ATM employees, instead of lobbying against them.

After providing continuous and flawless service during COVID-19, helping bring European citizens home and transport masks and other vital health care equipment, the news of DG MOVE working against ANSPs’ employees is a slap in the face. ETF condemns the civil servants’ actions during these already difficult times for aviation workers around the continent and demand clarifications on the subject. Until then, ETF is stopping our cooperation with DG MOVE in the field of ATM.

COVID-19 : A plan for European aviation

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ETF Civil Aviation Section has been representing the civil aviation workers of Europe, providing feedback to measures introduced by the various authorities and putting forward concrete plans. The responses so far are combined in the new plan for European aviation that introduces short- and the long- term measures, covers all the different areas of civil aviation, and embraces social and environmental sustainability.

Please download the plan here

Take action to prevent collision

Air traffic Management (ATM) as part of the wider aviation industry is facing the most significant crisis in its history. ATM staff continues to provide an essential service to ensure flights can continue to operate, with cargo and medical flights playing a particularly important role at the moment. Despite the vital importance of the industry, there are several crucial on-going issues. These are relevant to the continuing provision of ATM services now and, even more importantly, in the future, after we emerge from the current situation.

COVID-19: ETF calls for an aviation rescue plan and EU fund to help protect a strategic industry

European aviation has been amongst the first industries to be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and will be one of the hardest hit. Support to the workforce and the industry will ensure a lifeline for the sector that will guarantee its recovery after the pandemic. ETF calls for conditional financial aid to aviation-sector companies and immediate support to all workers in civil aviation, with special attention given to the most vulnerable among them.

Workers that make European aviation move are a heterogeneous group – from aircrew, over air traffic management to ground handling, catering and cleaning staff. In large parts of aviation, precarious work prevails over traditional work contracts, and zero-hour contracts or temporary agency work are booming. Precarious workers’ salaries are significantly below national averages and in some cases even below the poverty line. These groups of workers were immediately affected by the COVID-19 crisis as they had no reserve to fall back on.

ETF calls on the European Institutions and the Member States to put in place a rescue plan consisting of direct support for workers as well as conditional financial aid to aviation-sector companies. 

Financial assistance can only be granted if the respective company respects job retention and income protection measures. All aviation companies must be aware of their social responsibility and make sure that their most valuable asset – the workforce – is adequately protected.

Any financial aid to aviation-sector companies should also be conditional on a ban on pay-out of dividends to shareholders in 2020 (as a minimum) and a ban on stock buybacks by companies.

EU must ensure that the European idea of integration and democracy materialises for the working people and specifically for the most vulnerable.

Please download the statement here :

EUROPEAN AVIATION AT CROSSROADS: EUROPE AND MEMBER STATES MUST ACT NOW!

Being the sole representative of all categories of European aviation workers across the whole industry, the ETF Civil Aviation Section reiterates its urgent call to the decision-makers at EU and national level to safeguard the future of European aviation. Our industry is at a crossroads: either the current COVID-19 crisis completely decimates it or we turn the current events into an opportunity to rebuild the sector and learn lessons from the past.
As we already said in our previous statements, urgent measures are needed in the short, medium and long term.

Please download our statement here:

You can also download a joint statement we have published with the other social partners here:

STOP TARGETS ON THE PERFORMANCE SCHEME IN AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT

Prior to the Transport Council of December ETF and the other Professionnal Staff Organisations are giving their views on the actual need and the future of the Single European Sky. The voice of the workers of the european ATM industry needs to be heard.

As representatives of the ATM workers directly involved, we request that there is a pause in the non-achievable targets of the performance scheme. However, we recommend that the SES initiatives focus on realistic and
implementable projects with benefits that can be linked to achievable performance scheme targets. We also demand that the industry and the EU work on common standards that will improve the strongly needed
interoperability of our systems.
Finally, as it started in the EASA, the social impact of any further regulation should be assessed in detail, in order to avoid the mistakes of the past.

NO TO UNBUNDLING FOR THE AIR NAVIGATION SERVICES SPECIALISTS (ANSSs)!

ETF, representing more than 25000 workers in Air Traffic Management services, is the only organisation representing all ATM workers at European level. (see presentation of our ATM committee here) 
Since the beginning of the Single European Sky initiatives, one objective has always been to introduce more market into Air Navigation Services Provision.
We can not support initiatives leading to unbundling of tasks assigned to ANSSs (Air Navigation Services Specialists). The ETF is promoting a cooperative approach to ensure safety through proximity of ATM staff.

More on this leaflet.

SOCIAL DIALOGUE IS NEEDED MORE THAN EVER TO BUILD THE SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY!

Following the first round table discussions on the future of the Single European Sky on 28 May 2019 and the report of the Wise Persons Group (WPG), please find below follow up comments on behalf of the ETF with respect to those discussions and the WPG report.
Overall, we are disappointed that the ETF was not involved at all in the works of the WPG despite the fact that we represent 30.000 employees (in all categories of ATM staff: ATCOs, ATSEPS, AIS, administrative staff).
In addition, there has been little involvement of staff in the recent work involving the evolution of SES:
• Although there was a consultation process for the Airspace Architecture Study (AAS), our inputs were not properly considered. Some concepts such as ADSP bring many social consequences that were not discussed at all.
• Regarding the WPG, all ATM social partners from the employee side are quite critical towards the report. This again is further evidence that the Commission is not adequately considering the expertise of the ATM workers that is available, and it is the daily front line workers that are most aware of the problems the ATM industry is facing today.
There is an unhealthy culture emerging that is suggesting that the recommendations cannot be challenged, and are taken by default as correct. This is a dangerous assumption. Healthy, constructive challenge and exchange of ideas (which ETF strives to provide) can only help to strengthen any proposals going forward.
Finally, the approach followed by the WPG totally ignores the importance of the social dialogue in the EU polices and mechanisms to be implemented. Without a qualitative social dialogue, that allows management and unions to find joint solutions at all levels, including at EU level, any policies or recommendations will encounter concrete difficulties in the definition and implementation phases.

THE ETF REJECTS THE MARKET-DRIVEN APPROACH FOR THE SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY!

Following the report on the Future of the Single European Sky drafted by the ‘Wise Persons Group’ (WPG) created by the European Commission, the ETF deplores that the recommendations are oriented to please the airlines to the detriment of the other stakeholders. The ATM staff are more and more critical to the method which consists of listening mainly officials who have a business-driven sensitiveness against the quality of the service. For the ETF, it is clear that the safety and the security of the passengers and the non-flying citizens on ground are paramount.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), which represents more than 15.000 Air Traffic Controllers and all the other categories of the Air Traffic Management (ATM) staff, noticed, for instance, that the Social Dialogue doesn’t exist for the ‘Wise Persons Group’ while it is indispensable to smoothly achieve all the changes proposed in the report. At EU level, the social partners can make recommendations to their members notably to create success stories through a good and genuine social dialogue.

The ETF is not rejecting a digital European sky by a progressive increase of the level of automation support, new technologies as well as the use of interoperable systems. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the modernisation of the European ATM leading to a new organisation of the work, especially at the workplace, needs to be carefully monitor notably through a change management process established together with the staff representatives at all levels. It is a pity that staff such as AIS/AIM had no representative in this WPG.

The ATM is a service of general interest and it is the ETF view that safety seems to play a marginal role for the WPG compared to other criteria such as economic performance. It is the case when the WPG proposes to set up an independent competent economic regulator which would oversee the performance of service providers. The ETF is totally opposed to such a body which will be lobbied by the airlines associations, without a public control.

At the same time, Eurocontrol would have more power as Network Manager (NM), with the risk of becoming a new monopoly, which is against the EU policy. The most important is that the WPG does not mention that the first mission of the NM is safety and not a creator of capacity. Strangely, they want to empower it for managing the capacities of the service providers but not towards the behaviour of the airspace users which is causing a lot of inefficiencies in the network.

In conclusion, the ETF calls the European Commission to organise a round table with all concerned parties to discuss this report in order to come to a more balanced approach. There would be a real added value to ask the opinion of all the EU ATM staff representatives to make the Single European Sky more efficient in the future.

We are all one in the sky

The Signatories support the European regulatory authorities in producing a robust, harmonised, EU-wide regulatory safety framework that enables the safe, secure, efficient and fair integration of drones in the aviation system, and fosters broad public acceptance. Since the Drones Helsinki Declaration in 2017, which called for simple and performance-based rules for drones, significant progress has been made in developing and delivering a regulatory framework that will support the safe and sustainable growth of the drone industry. However, in order to facilitate the integration of drones in very low-level airspace (i.e. below 500 ft) and preserve the high level of safety in the entire European airspace, we jointly call to accelerate the implementation of the following measures.

1. Extensive public awareness campaign The general public, including recreational/occasional drone users, as well as commercial clients, must be aware of the safety risks, duties, liabilities, insurance requirements, responsibilities and third-party privacy issues associated with drone operations. These are essential requirements as lack of awareness and negligence could result in safety incidents and accidents. Therefore, more resources must be dedicated to this aspect of drone integration in the airspace.

2. Mandatory training and certificate/license relevant to operations The obligation for drone pilots to obtain a certificate or license aligned with EU regulation – depending on the properties, performance and features of the drone – creates awareness and mandates knowledge of the applicable regulations and restrictions as well as helping to develop the necessary skills. Practical training and theoretical knowledge requirements for unmanned aircraft pilots constitute an important safety net to prevent drone incidents or accidents. A solid knowledge and skills base is therefore a must, considering the complexity of the national and European airspaces and related aviation regulations. We are all one in the sky There is only one sky and all stakeholders, new and traditional, need to collaborate to keep it safe, secure, efficient and fair. The Signatories

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