Despite the fact that these “Assises du Transport Aérien” are organized by the French government, the aviation industry is not only a national sector but also an international industry were competition, productivity and profits race seems to be the unique aim at the expense of Cabin Crew working conditions. The strength of this meeting is that trade unions will be also actively involved.
From an European perspective, the European Cabin Crew Association will contribute to the discussions by making some proposals that could have impacts at the European level for cabin crews.
One of the spearheads of the EurECCA is fair competition. We have been pressing for a long time to apply European rules to airlines that (want to) have access to the European market. After all, these rules also apply to European companies and EurECCA believes that this principle should take a prominent place in the negotiations that the Commission is conducting on the basis of the mandates it has received from the Member States. The revision of regulation n°868/2004 is also important for the enforcement of rules agreed in Europe with respect to airlines from outside Europe. Elements that also affect fair competition are strict control of state subsidies, monitoring of working conditions of cabin crew and a revision of passenger rights.
On the social level, EurECCA wants to stress that the definition of Home Base as it is used in France, should be implemented in every European country. Pan-European airlines are still avoiding local laws and taxes by “shopping” with regard to the interpretation of Home Base. The Court of Justice of the European Union has stated as a significant criteria that the place where a cabin crew member commences and ends its work and is permanently resident, qualifies as Home Base and that the laws and taxes applicable in that country apply to that member of the cabin crew. Too many local judges in other countries in Europe make statements that leave room for a different interpretation that makes cabin crew vulnerable when it comes to labor law, social security and the correct payment of taxes.
The same applies to sham constructions under which cabin crew is hired and employed. Bogus self-employment, temporary work agency, zero-hour contracts or any other atypical forms of employment should be banned as well as fraudulent posted-worker constructions from airlines that abuse the A1 / E101 social security certificates. Recently, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a judgment that gives national judges the right to condemn fraud with A1 / E101 certificates and forces the fraudulent company to pay social security contributions in the country where work is being carried out. Not only does this improve the position of cabin crew, but it also ensures that competition in Europe becomes fairer. Airlines should no longer be able to abuse schemes that are intended to make employee mobility possible and are not intended as a cost lowering business model.
During the “Assises du Transport Aérien”, EurECCA on behalf of its 35 000 Cabin Crew affiliated, will call on the European authorities to enforce their fights for fair competition within Europe and with airlines from outside Europe.