Airport workers’ group launches with world protests

June 6, 2016

Dublin rallyAirport workers around the world came together last week in a new organisation, Airports United, which kicked off its struggle for economic justice, safety and security with actions in 33 airports. It then took its message – that while airlines are getting richer their workers are being paid less, worked more, and having their job security torn away – direct to the industry executives meeting at the IATA (International Air Transport Association) AGM in Dublin, Ireland.

Airports United was launched on Tuesday 1 June with demonstrations and leafleting at airports in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, South Korea, Sweden, the Netherlands and the USA. The launch was backed by the release of ITF research that showed that, although the global airline industry is expected to make record profits of USD36.3 billion this year, airlines have created a cost cutting culture that is affecting airport workers, safety and services.

The following day a delegation of airport workers from around the world protested outside the IATA AGM before holding a packed press conference. Pictures from both day’s events can be seen at

Frankfurt Airport worker Hakan Bölükmese told the press conference: “Working conditions have changed dramatically in the last decade. Airlines land only where they think they can get a good deal. It’s a race to the bottom. Cost cutting and subcontracting are putting safety and security at risk. We’re all being put at risk.”

ITF general secretary Steve Cotton welcomed the new group, which he said was made up of the workers who are the backbone of the industry. He added that the new emerging network represents airport workers in over 100 airports globally and is launching with a clear mission to improve the industry for all concerned – and that the ITF is proud to back it.

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