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Working towards a socially responsible aviation sector

Following a report recently adopted by the European Commission on maintaining and adopting high social standards in the aviation industry, a high-level workshop was organised by DG MOVE on 4 April in Brussels for the affected stakeholders.

The aim of the workshop was to bring together all interested parties (representatives from airlines, unions, member states and EU institutions) to take stock of progress made on the social agenda for aviation and help the Commission identify possible ways forward to be explored by the next Commission. A further objective of this workshop was to discuss how all interested parties can work together towards a socially responsible air transport in a highly competitive market. After the keynote speech of Commissioner Violeta Bulc, the report adopted on 1 March (which can be downloaded from the top right-hand corner of this page) was presented jointly by DG MOVE, DG EMPL and DG JUST. It was emphasised that with this report, the Commission takes stock of progress on the social agenda in aviation, which was set out in the 2015 aviation strategy. Focussing on aircrews and in line with the Commission's political priorities on jobs, growth and fairness, the report reviews the main opportunities and challenges for aircrews. The report also aims to improve legal certainty for mobile aircrew and identifies some concrete actions for a stronger social agenda in aviation in the short term. The second panel, moderated by the Commission in three separate groups focussed on the challenges and solutions connected to promoting a socially responsible aviation sector. Some airlines have introduced practices that have an impact on the quality of aircrews' employment and working conditions and the attractiveness of aviation. In particular, improving legal certainty and raising awareness about applicable law among all interested parties is paramount, which should contribute to improved working conditions, service quality and competitiveness of EU carriers. The afternoon started with a panel discussing how the relevant EU and national labour law for all aircrews could be better enforced as current national legislation and levels of protection differ, there are divergent interpretations of EU legislation, and a lack of clarity as regards the distribution of tasks and responsibilities between national authorities. Participants of moderated groups shared ideas on how trade unions, airlines, relevant member state authorities and the Commission can work together in a more efficient way to foster better enforcement to the benefit of all. Closing the day, a high-level panel (attended by TRAN Committee chairwoman Karima Delli) discussed the lessons learned and possible ways forward.