EU-US Agreement Risks Stripping Pilots of their Basic Labour Rights

The European Cockpit Association (ECA), supported by its US counterpart ALPA International (ALPA-I) and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Association (IFALPA), calls upon the EU institutions to set up a trans-Atlantic legal framework that would allow pilots to have proper representation; give them the right to negotiate and to agree collective labour agreements; and to ensure that these agreements are properly enforceable, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Following the second EU-US Labour Forum, held on 22-23 June, ECA, together with ALPA-I and IFALPA expressed their joint position on a potential 2nd stage EU-US air transport agreement. The 2nd Labour Forum was aimed at finding potential solutions to issues raised at the 1st Labour Forum (Dec. 2008), such as a de facto erosion of EU and US workers' basic trade-union rights.

ECA welcomes the encouraging outcomes of this Second Forum. As ECA President, Capt. Martin Chalk, recalls, "neither ECA nor ALPA-I are opposed to liberalisation. We recognise that there are real benefits for the industry, for the passengers and for the legislator." However, ECA outlines that the 1st stage EU-US agreement, which has been into force for a bit more than one year, has shown serious labour relations issues that are still unresolved, due to apparent lack of an EU legal framework for the protection of workers and the settlement of disputes with the management. Therefore, European and American pilots will only support further EU-US air transport negotiations if the EU institutions provide a solution to this situation to enable pilots to properly defend their job, their profession and their future.

Download the ECA Press Release (PDF)