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CESI warns against sellout of airport jobs


21 Oct 2011


Social Europe & Jobs

“Employment quality and service quality go hand in hand”, says CESI secretary general Helmut Müllers. CESI strongly criticizes the Commission’s plan to further deregulate airport ground services. It has been announced that a new legislative package with directives on slots, air security and ground services is to be published by December 1st. “The first steps taken back in the 1990s have shown poor results on the well functioning of airport services”, explains Müllers referring to the ground service liberalization directive of 1996. “The Lisbon treaty clearly requires a social impact assessment of this deregulation”, states Müllers reminding that downgrading the job quality of ground services is tantamount to a sellout of service quality.

“The deregulation of ground services has already caused a lot of problems at European airports”, says Müllers quoting Heathrow airport as an example. Cost cutting measures in ground services are a major reason for delays and luggage losses. “You simply need enough qualified and motivated staff to do this job efficiently; it involves many processes and logistic adaptability”. CESI underlines that cutting wages to minimal levels and putting lots of strain on the workers through poor working conditions does not enhance the stability of the very complex logistics of airport ground handling systems.

“To open the market is one thing, to create a situation that does not allow fair competition is another”, says Müllers. CESI fears that the pressure of the big airlines on airports to reduce social standards in employment conditions is tremendously high. According to CESI low cost providers dismantle social standards and create precarious working conditions and unstable employment. This would not be in line with the EU 2020 strategy to fight poverty and create more and better jobs. “We call on the European Commission to withdraw its new directive on ground services and rethink its market opening policy. We call on all European trade unions to tell their country’s MEPs to stop this initiative if it is tabled”, concludes Müllers.