Union wins for ground handling staff in aviation

February 23, 2024

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) affiliate ver.di has secured an historic collective agreement, including improved wages and working conditions for over 30,000 employees at major German airports following strike action earlier this week. 

This historic agreement sets a precedent by replacing numerous individual agreements and sets a new standard for the industry. 

Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary said: “This is a major victory in the fight for fair treatment of workers and better working conditions in the ground-handling industry. The successful negotiation of this agreement sets a precedent for other employers in the industry to follow suit.” 

ETF General Secretary, Livia Spera, congratulated ver.di on their achievement, saying: “This industry collective agreement is a testament to the power of collective action and a beacon of hope for workers across Europe. Ver.di’s tireless efforts have secured significant improvements for their members, setting a strong precedent for fairer treatment in the ground handling sector. We stand in solidarity with ver.di and celebrate this hard-fought victory!” 

The new agreement means significantly higher wages, now increased to €16.51 per hour from just €13 previously, with further increases to be awarded based on experience and qualifications. 

Weekly working hours for the ground handling staff were also lowered to 37.5 hours with full wage compensation, and several more work-life balance measures, including up to 36 days of vacation, were introduced as part of the new agreement.  

Surcharges for Sunday, holiday, and night work were also successfully negotiated by ver.di, ensuring fair compensation for the staff’s inconvenient working hours. 

While this is a significant step forward, the fight for fair treatment continues for ground handling staff at airlines like Lufthansa, where separate negotiations are ongoing. 

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