Echoing the “Social dumping in the EU” report approved by the EP earlier in September, today Feb. 16th has been approved the “Aviation Strategy for Europe”. Though a political text (to be released) with no direct legislative value, the Parliament takes position and calls the EU Commission and Member states to take action. Vote result as follows:
- 397 MEPs in favour – near entirety of big political groups (EPP, S&D and ALDE).
- 99 against (radical left and Greens prominently)
- 49 abstained
The choice to support social concerns
The Strategy, from competitiveness to consolidation and environmental concerns, encompasses amendments proposed by front-line stakeholders, notably:
- Article 9 on Air Transport Agreements with third countries, calls for “high safety standards, appropriate labour and social standards and participation in the market-based climate change instrument for air transport emissions and, in air transport agreements, to ensure equal market access, equal ownership conditions and a level playing field based on reciprocity”;
- Article 40 calls for clarification of Home Base and Principal Place of Business;
- Article 41 calls for continued scrutiny of safety implications of atypical work;
- Article 41 addresses zero-hour contracts, pay-to-fly schemes, bogus self-employment, third countries crew on EU-registered aircraft, just culture;
- Article 44 calls for the respect of workers’ rights,
- Article 45 calls for high employment standards and to stop the intra-EU race to the bottom;
- Article 45 calls upon “the Commission and the Member States to present proposals on how to prevent indirect employment being misused to circumvent EU and national legislation on taxation”;
- Article 46 calls for the respect of union and workers’ organisation rights;
- Article 47 calls to clarify applicable labour law for workers.
Report aside, remarkable highlights from the morning debate in the Parliament about the text include MEP Van Dalen (NL) ‘s mention of the issue of fatigue (ref. FTL) and the London School of Economics study;
“Let me be clear on this: the same safety standards must apply, regardless of the employment conditions”._Commissioner Bulc
Seemingly knowing better than the April 2015 preliminary results of the EASA experts of the Rulemaking Advisory Group tasked to assess the impact of new business models on safety, MEP Jacqueline Foster (UK) announced her voting against the report given the clauses on social standards:
“The report’s statement that pilots flying under precarious working conditions constitute a safety risks for passengers in Europe is completely false, totally misleading, and shows breathtaking ignorance”.