Omertà Above The Clouds
To start with a statement: Throughout the years the working conditions for aircrews have declined. Atypical forms of employment are on the rise, pushing safety at risk due to bad working conditions and a financial dependency finally leading aircrews to perform flights even if they are not fit to fly.
But what does this exactly mean?
Well, if we look at the actual working conditions from an aircrew perspective, especially the crews working for Low Cost Carriers (LCCs), we experience fuller and fuller rosters, roughly any time to recover, pressure from the employers to work faster, make more sales, take more and more responsibility. In parallel the employment business models have also changed – and not in a good way: bogus self-employed crews, zero-hour contracts, pay-to-fly schemes, hiring through temporary working agencies, false posting or complex legal constructions to circumvent social obligations in a way to increase profits and optimize taxes on the backs of aircrews.
All this said, draws a picture of a massive downgrading in the working conditions of aircrew, putting them in a weaker position with hardly any chances to fight for their rights and being forced to continue working even if they are not fit to fly. Instead of having a Just Culture the Fear Culture is present.
And this is the main analysis part of a Dutch documentary that has been aired which investigates on the working conditions of aircrew and the impacts on flight safety. To get an understanding of the situation in the European aviation market, the journalists also interviewed the presidents of EurECCA and ECA, researchers, politicians as well as some anonymous first-hand reports from crews. In the course of the documentary the role of EASA as the watchdog of the European flight safety is questioned because of the fact that reports from aircrews and research results by renowned institutes have not been taken up seriously.
We highly recommend you to watch this very interesting documentary and make up your own opinion.
The link to the documentary on YouTube is attached: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVPATr58-w4