ITF News Online – December 10, 2011

International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)



9 December 2011

Pilots in Germany employed at European Air Transport, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL, have been invited to talks following pressure from union members.

Members of the ITF-affiliated Verdi union, who are based at the company’s hub in Leipzig, had become increasingly frustrated over a continuing stalemate in negotiations and intransigence over the establishment of a works council. The company was also refusing to discuss job security for crew members.

However, DHL has finally agreed to meet with activists to talk about protecting all crew members’ jobs. Union members’ willingness to participate in a “warning strike” is believed to have prompted management into conceding on negotiations.

Verdi’s Holger Rößler said: “We are glad to announce that we were able to achieve a partial success due to members’ support and willingness to participate in a warning strike.”

“However, we will still consider taking further action if these negotiations run along the same lines as previous ones.”

Ingo Marowsky, ITF organising globally coordinator, commented: “Unions representing pilots are among the aviation affiliates of the ITF and, as a group, these workers are crucial to the success of ‘on-time’ delivery. DHL would do well to remember this.”

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8 December 2011

The ITF and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) have expressed dismay following news that Ebrahim Madadi, vice-president of the Vahed Syndicate in Tehran was re-arrested yesterday. He had been released only last Thursday.

In a statement released on 7 December, ITUC general secretary, Sharan Burrow, said: “This can only be interpreted as yet another crass and cynical move by the authorities to distract attention from the serious violations of trade union rights in Iran immediately prior to the ILO [International Labour Organization] regional Asia Pacific conference which just concluded in Kyoto.”

ITF general secretary David Cockroft added: “We don’t yet know if this arrest is a bureaucratic error or an attempt to punish Ebrahim – but either way it’s an unacceptable infringement on his rights and liberty. Like the continuing imprisonment of the increasingly ill Reza Shahabi it is an injustice that is crying out to be righted.”

The ITUC is calling for ILO intervention on the matter; meanwhile, there are fears that Ali Nejati, president of sugar workers’ union Haft Tapeh, who has been released from detention, may also face re-arrest. Haft Tapeh is affiliated to the International Union of Food Workers.

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MUNZ Members in the Port of Auckland


8 December 2011

Unions around the world are backing their docker colleagues in New Zealand who are involved in a struggle to retain their hard-won terms and conditions.

Represented by the ITF-affiliated Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ), dockers in the Port of Auckland were issued with a lockout notice in an escalating row over their employer’s refusal to embark on good faith negotiations. A three-year agreement between the union and the Port of Auckland Limited (POAL) expired on 30 September 2011. The MUNZ is now preparing a legal challenge to defend the rights of workers at the port and restore good faith collective bargaining.

Recent press reports indicate that the company has now withdrawn its lockout notice.

ITF dockers’ section secretary Frank Leys commented: “ITF affiliates are sending messages of support to the union and workers, who were subjected to a blatant attack by the company. If the situation isn’t resolved, we will consider what next steps to take.”

Send your message of solidarity to the union here.

For more about the ITF dockers’ section campaign for better conditions in ports visit the GNT campaign page.

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5 December 2011 – ITF Arab World

Mid-November, the ETF received the information from LAAF Latvian Cabin Crew Union about the struggle of the airBaltic workers facing layoffs and intimidations by the air company due to alleged financial difficulties airBaltic is currently experiencing. The ETF affiliated union explained that the company dismissed non-unionised cabin crew and temporarily discharged union members from their formal duties in airBaltic, among them the deputy chairman of the union board. The company also invoked shortage of workforce to cancel crewmembers’ Christmas holidays.

In order to encourage the union members in finding an acceptable solution to this dispute, the Chairman of the LAAF Cabin Crew Board asked, among others, the ETF for expressing moral support by sending solidarity letters to the union, which was followed-up by the ETF and many ETF affiliates. Last week, on 30 November, the ETF was notified about the positive outcome of the negotiations between airBaltic and LAAF Cabin Crew Union and about the reinstallment of all grounded union members to full duty.

In response to the ETF protest letter, sent to the management of airBaltic on 23 November and downloadable under related documents, the ETF received a letter from Mr Gauss, CEO and Chairman of the airBaltic Board, expressing his gratitude towards the LAAF Cabin Crew Union for “the very professional and fruitful cooperation during all this emotionally damaging process” and his believe in “continuous Union’s input into future efficiency and well-being of airBaltic”. The ETF hereby wants to thank LAAF Cabin Crew Union in resolving this dispute so quickly in a constructive and respectful way, and also want to thank all ETF affiliates for expressing their support by sending solidarity letters.

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