Representatives from the IAM attended the inaugural International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Ground Staff Occupational Health and Safety working group meeting this week to discuss health and safety issues affecting ground staff at airports globally.
This working group was an outcome of our Ground Staff Sub-Committee Meeting at the ITF Civil Aviation Conference held in Montreal last year. The main focus of this working group will be to identify major health and safety issues for ground handling workers, collect evidence, develop an ITF position and response on the issues. Attending on behalf of the IAM were Chris Cheung, District Lodge 140 H&S, Erik Stenberg, District Lodge 141 Assistant General Chairperson, Safety Chairperson and Keith Aiken, Air Transportation Coordinator Canada.
“The IAM was well represented at this meeting. Erik spoke about the upsetting trend of reaching injuries as the use of handheld scanning devices have caused baggage handlers to reach more using one hand causing a sharp increase in shoulder and back injuries. This is just one example of how through the sharing of information on trends in the industry will help us build an agenda to protect our members working at airports globally. Next steps will be to collect the evidence and build the plan. The work of this working group will be invaluable and will benefit our members working at airports in North America” said Keith Aiken, Air Transportation Coordinator Canada.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. The ITF fights passionately to improve working lives, connecting 740 affiliated trade unions from over 150 countries and are the voice for nearly 18.5 million working men and women across the world.
The IAM represents eighty-eight thousand ground handling workers in North America and represents the largest number of workers at Canadian Airports.