International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) representatives participated in a series of meetings hosted by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF)—which the IAM is affiliated—to ensure IAM members’ interests are represented on the global stage.
A meeting on Flags of Convenience, a common practice in the maritime industry that is spreading to aviation, was convened. This very controversial practice involves airlines registering aircraft in countries other than the one they are headquartered to take advantage of a particular country’s lax labor, safety and maintenance oversight standards. The devastating negative impact this can have on aircraft maintenance workers, not to mention air safety, is dramatic.
A study presented concluded the lack of an educational campaign in the shipping industry in the 1950s was a major obstacle to a more unified union response in the early years of the maritime flags of convenience. The ITF is preparing a global educational campaign to combat this new airline initiative while still in its infancy. The main offshore aircraft registries are located in Aruba; Bermuda; Ireland; Malta; Cayman Islands; Isle of Man; Georgia; Lithuania and San Marino.
“The Machinists Union’s affiliation with the ITF allows us to take a global approach to solve global problems such as the off-shoring of MRO work to countries with lax standards and oversight,” said General Vice President and Chairman of the ITF’s Civil Aviation Section Sito Pantoja.
The Machinists Union chaired the first meeting of the ITF’s Maintenance Repair and Overhaul working group, with additional IAM representatives from the U.S. and Canada participating. The goal of the group is to advance a strategic response to the key developments and trends in the sector, to identify priorities and to act upon them.
The outsourcing of maintenance work airlines historically performed in-house is clearly a worldwide practice. Representatives from the United States, Canada, Jordan, Japan, Hungary, Lebanon, Ethiopia, India, Argentina, Bulgaria and Hungary participated in the meeting.
The IAM’s Transportation Department, Canadian Territory, Strategic Resources Department and Air Transport District 142 prepared a report on the MRO industry in North America for the meeting.
Read the report.