Montréal, QC – The ITF (International Transport Workers Federation) held an Open Skies Workshop which coincided with the inaugural opening of the new IFT office within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquarters in Montréal.
“This was a very important milestone for the 19.7 million workers from 140 countries belonging to 670 unions from around the world including the IAM,” explained IAM Canadian airline coordinator Carlos DaCosta. “We’re here to understand the industry players, push the human and worker agenda, and influence the key players in civil aviation,” said IFT General Secretary Steve Cotton.
ICAO, a special agency of the United Nations, has a mandate to promote safe and orderly development of civil aviation in the world. ICAO has embraced the concept of Open Skies which the IAM opposes. An Open Skies-type agreement allows any number of carriers (airlines) to operate both direct and indirect services between and within Canada and another country. Airlines choose the routes to serve, the frequency of the service and the prices of flights, without any restrictions.
Left to right – Ekaterina Yordanova – President F.T.T.U.B., Joe Toberi – IAM Transportation Chief of Staff, Oliver Richardson – Unite, Carlos DaCosta – IAM Canadian Airline Coordinator, Gabriele Mocha Rodriguez – ITF Civil Aviation Sscretary
While ICAO tries to expand this liberalization of aviation rules around the world, the end result has been increased monopolies of airlines, ground handling companies and Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities. “This has come to the detriment of aviation workers in terms of wages, working conditions, and contract flipping not only in Canada but around the world,” said Da Costa. “This is why we are lobbying this group to make changes that are worker friendly, starting with our delegation appointed to ICAO by the Canadian government.” The first step was a meeting on May 9th between Da Costa and Frank Neubauer, Alternate Representative for Canada to the ICAO group. “We started off discussions on Canada’s agenda and where they stand on several issues impacting Canadian aviation workers,” said Da Costa. “Every union representative at this ITF workshop held discussions with their country’s ICAO representative similar to the one I had with Frank Neubauer and the workshop helped us to prepare for those discussions.”
Left to right – Carlos DaCosta – IAM Canadian Airline Coordinator, Frank Neubauer – Alternate Representative for Canada tgo ICAO
“That’s why the ITF’s new office at ICAO is so important, it will allow all unions, through their representatives to lobby their country’s representative to ICAO on an ongoing basis,” added Da Costa.