Aviation workers win battle with Swissport in Belgium

June 6, 2013

A five-day strike by Swissport International ground handling workers at Brussels Airport in Belgium came to an end on May 17 after the intervention of its international CEO resulted in the company meeting the workers' main demands, ITF affiliates report. The unions stated that the strike was over job losses, increased work pressure, bad working conditions, Swissport's lack of respect for the collective bargaining agreements and social dialogue, and the failure of the company's management to communicate with workers. In a letter announcing his decision, Swissport CEO Per H Utnegenaard assured the unions that he wanted a good relationship with them.   ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho commented: "This is a good result. However, the unions are not confident that it represents a real shift in attitude and behaviour by Swissport.  We in the European and international civil aviation union family will be keeping a close eye on developments and are ready to show solidarity to our affiliates in Belgium if called upon." On 15 May the ETF - ITF's European arm - issued a statement strongly supporting the strike, in which it urged "the management of Swissport to establish a proper and constructive social dialogue with all the unions in order to find a balanced and solid solution to these issues."

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