Published: 01/07/2002

Airline catering unions developing global strategies

ITF- and IUF-affiliated unions representing employees in the two major transnationals in the airline catering sector, Gate Gourmet and LSG Sky Chefs, met in London on June 25-26, 2002 in order to develop strategies for working together as closely and effectively as possible. The strategies centre on the need to ensure the constant exchange of information world-wide and to set up faster and more efficient communication channels. The inclusion of European Works Councils in this global trade union information network was also discussed.

An EWC is already in place within the Gate Gourmet group and it was agreed to include this existing information exchange network in our strategy and to strive for closer cooperation between trade unions world-wide and the European body. Through the use of web-based communications and e-mail lists, Gate Gourmet workers and their unions can be kept up-to-date on the latest union and company activities from around the world. It is intended that both international secretariats lead this project.

On the other hand, a European Works Council has yet to be established within the LSG Sky Chefs group. Meeting participants from the European trade unions agreed to take the necessary steps, which initially involves contacting the company in order to set up the Special Negotiating Body. ITF and IUF have since informed LSG Sky Chefs global and European management by joint letter of the decision of their European affiliates. A global trade union information exchange network for LSG Sky Chefs workers and their unions will be set up and administered by the US hotel and restaurant workers union HERE with the support of the ITF and IUF.

Furthermore, in connection with the discussion on European Works Councils, the meeting stressed the need for forms of communication and consultation which go beyond the existing structures in Europe and include workers from all countries in which a company operates. The two international federations will be working to advance this process.