First steps agreed in bid for Gulf aviation basic rights

September 12, 2013

The session on anti-union Gulf states this morning heard from an ITF panel composed of Sarah Finke, Mahendra Sharma, Stuart Howard, and Gabriel Mocho. They covered the following points:

Freedom of association in the Gulf States is a regional matter but also a global one. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are global businesses that avoid costs by denying their largely migrant workforces basic labour rights and freedoms, while other airlines in the region that do recognise unions suffer unfair competition. Emirates is one of three biggest airlines in the world, Last year it grew 15%, it employs more than 30,00 aviation workers. Qatar Airways and Etihad are smaller but growing fast.

“We are talking about 70,000 workers without a union to defend their rights in the fastest growing global airlines. We need a good, strong and well planned campaign. The discussion is starting here where these airless base themselves.” said Gabriel Mocho, ITF civil aviation secretary.

Following discussions, the meeting resolved:

  • Urgently lobby relevant governments ahead of the ICAO meeting starting on 24th September to ensure they support the ITF proposals to introduce legal frameworks on union rights and to establish an ILO-ICAO working group
  • Establish a small working group to plan a well-researched campaign that takes into account the needs of unorganised migrant workers and of other union members in the region.
  • Raise this issue at a global level, working with the ITF civil aviation section to gather international support for this campaign.
  • Present a resolution to the ITF Congress in Bulgaria in August 2014 on this important initiative.

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