Brussels, 15 May 2000
- Kerstin HowaldCoordinator
Excused: Aage JensenRBF
- Rudolf KaskeHGPD
1.Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted (see attached).
2.Report on activities
The Coordinator presented the report on activities (see attached).
Participants gave additional information on the settlement of the labour dispute at LSG Sky Chefs, Heathrow airport; the renegotiation of the ACCOR European Works Council agreement; possible future joint activities of IUF and IHRA (International Hotel and Restaurant Association) in the field of workers’/trade union rights; and on a problem that currently affects important parts of the tourism sectors, namely the shortage of qualified staff.
3.European Seminar on EWC in transnational travel and tourism companies
The Coordinator recalled the results of the seminar on EWC in transnational travel and tourism companies, held in the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin on 13-14 March 2000 (see attached summary report). Given the current developments in the tourism industry with an accelerating process of take-overs, mergers, alliances, the organisation of such a seminar proved to be of importance.
The ETLC agreed upon the following follow up measures:
·European Works Councils
The setting up of EWCs in travel and tourism companies should be given a new impulse, trade unions representing workers in the different sub-sectors, e.g. transport, tour oprerators, travel agencies, hotels and restaurants, have to cooperate closely when integrated companies ar concerned.
The information and consultation rights of workers in case of restructuring need to be strengthened, the ETUC campaign for revision of the EWC Directive will be supported.
In order to facilitate contacts and the flow of information, as a first step an e-mail and address list of participants to the seminar will be established. This list shall be constantly enlarged.
The added value of an ETLC website was discussed. It should be linked to existing web sites of trade union organisations. The practical and financial feasibility will be further examined. Instead of merely putting information on a web site, a more active spread of information would be essential.
·Database on travel and tourism TNCs
Experience with existing databases shows that a database is difficult to realise, with regard to financial means and manpower needed for creating and maintaining it..
·Annual tourism events
The tourism conference 2001 should tackle the impact of the concentration process in the tourism sector and the trend towards integrated tour operators on the tourism industry in the destination countries. The meeting should be organised in a main tourism destination, e.g. on Teneriffe. The Coordinator will seek for Community funding.
4.EU – Mediterranean Conference on Tourism
The Mediterranean is one of the world’s largest tourism destinations. The conference should investigate broader problems of tourism, concerning all countries bordering the Mediterranean.
Suggested issues to be tackled:
-Social conditions in the tourism sector
-TNC activities in Mediterranean countries
-Free movement of workers
·Transfer of know how
Further clarification is needed on:
-Countries to be involved
·EU member states
-Profile of participants
·trade union officials
·workers’ representatives from tourism companies / TNCs
·EU programmes / budget lines, e.g. MEDA II
·Economic and Social Councils in the countries concerned
·Cooperation with ICFTU / ETUC
-Venue of the meeting
In the preparatory phase the expectations of trade unions in the Mediterranean countries towards such a conference should be looked into.
Documentation should be compiled in order to draft an initial paper for the conference, identifying the main problems of tourism in the Mediterranean area.
5.NET Manifesto “Enhancing Tourism’s Potential for Employment”
The Network of European Private Entrepreneurs in the Tourism Sector, NET, had declined ETLC’s proposal to identify possible fields of common interest and possibilities for joint initiatives in the field of tourism. The Manifesto launched by NET (see attached) should be used for another attempt to initiate cooperation with NET.
Contact to the French tourism authorities should be established to give an input into the activities in the field of tourism under the French presidency.
·ETLC project: “What kind of jobs in tourism”
The Coordinator will apply for Community funding for the second phase of the study.
ETLC Meeting 15 May 2000
1.European Works Councils in transnational travel and tourism companies
On 13 and 14 March 2000, the ETLC organised the seminar “European Works Councils in transnational travel and tourism companies” in the ILO Training Centre in Turin. 38 participants from 15 European countries attended the seminar, they were employee representatives from travel agencies, tour operators, hotel and restaurant chains; representatives of national and international trade unions organising tourism workers; representatives of transnational travel companies, the ETUC and the ILO.
Triggered by presentations of Kerstin Howald, ETLC Coordinator, and Dr. Willi Schoppen, Board Member of C&N Touristic AG, the participants discussed the general trend in travel and tourism towards integrated tourism companies, caused by the constant concentration process in globalised industry, and its impact on employment and social conditions.
Annemarie David, ETUC Infopoint, presented a quantitative evaluation of European Works Council agreements in the travel and tourism industry, followed by reports of EWC members on the experience in the existing EWCs (TUI, Scandic, ClubMéditerranée).
In working groups the participants discussed information and consultation needs of EWCs and ways to establish an efficient information and communication network, in order to enable workers’ representatives to anticipate changes and to find solutions for conflicts occurring in the context of restructurings within TNCs.
The results of the seminar will be followed up by the ETLC at its next meeting on 15 May 2000 in Brussels.
Having consolidated the structure of the services dealing with tourism in the General Directorate “Enterprises”, the Commission is working on the request made by the EU Council of Ministers in June 1999 to make proposals together with the Member States on exchange of information, improvement of training, quality of tourism products and sustainability in the field of tourism. To this end the Commission set up 4 working groups in the context of the Advisory Committee which brings together representatives of the Member States’ tourism authorities and the Commission.
These working groups, consisting of representatives designated by the 15 Member States (coming from public authorities or being technical/academic experts) will present a progress report to the Advisory Committee before the end of the year. The tourism industry will be consulted on the reports. Work is expected to continue into 2001, resulting in the elaboration of policy recommendations on the different items.
In each of the four working groups, one EU Member State plays a key role:
-information collection and disseminationPortugal
3.Council of Ministers
On April 10, the European Union foreign affairs ministers decided formally to abolish the EU Tourism Council. The General Affairs Council, which is responsible for all EU business, agreed to reduce the number of Council formations to improve the consistency and coherency of the Council’s work.
Tourism will in future be dealt with as part of a new Council formation covering Internal Market, Consumer Affairs and Tourism. Similarly, transport will now feature only as the Transport and Telecommunications Council.
It might be seen in this light that travel and tourism were hardly mentioned when French Prime Minister Jospin announced the priorities for the French Presidency of the European Union which starts on July 1, 2000.
The plenary session of the Economic and Social Committee adopted on 26 January 2000 an opinion on the Commission’s Communication on Enhancing Tourism’s Potential for Employment COM(1999)205. The Coordinator represented tourism workers in the study group charged with drafting the opinion as expert to Group II (workers’ interests). The opinion is precise in its analysis of the social conditions in the tourism sector and makes concrete proposals for specific actions to be taken.
On 26 January 2000 the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism adopted the report of the Italian MEP Viceconte on the Commission’s Communication on Enhancing Tourism’s Potential for Employment COM(1999)205. Having adopted a wide range of amendments, the report contains many important recommendations, such as: the need for coherent statistics on economic and social developments and employment trends in tourism; to secure permanent, full-time employment in the sector, to stamp off undeclared work and various forms of discrimination against weaker groups looking for work; to encourage training and mobility of the workforce; to consider tourism in the Member States’ employment policies, etc.
6.Social dialogue in the European Horeca sector
The cooperation between ECF-IUF and HOTREC has faced difficulties in the previous years, due to the employers’ reluctance to work constructively on initiatives proposed by ECF-IUF, and due to a lack of proposals from HOTREC. The conflict culminated in HOTREC’s withdrawal from the project “Tools to support transnational mobility in the European hotel and restaurant sector”, for which ECF-IUF had obtained funding from the European Social Fund (Action Plan for the Free Movement of Workers). The objective of the project is to identify barriers to mobility of workers and to provide practical solutions to facilitate mobility of workers in the hotel and restaurant sector.
ECF-IUF hopes that national affiliates of HOTREC that have a constructive attitude towards the social dialogue will give a positive impulse at the HOTREC General Assembly in May 2000, and that HOTREC will soon come up with concrete proposals for future fields of cooperation.
On April 6, 2000, the Network of European Private Entrepreneurs in the Tourism Sector (NET) organised a seminar on “Enhancing Tourism’s Potential for Employment”.
Focussing on issues as VAT, Copyright, tour operators’ margin schemes and E-commerce, the mere objective of this meeting seemed to have been to bring across the employers’ concerns about framework conditions and regulations. ECF-IUF, as the social partner of HOTREC, was invited, but did not participate in the seminar, because the employers did not give opportunity to trade unions to express their views.
ECF-IUF brought these reservations also to the knowledge of Commission and EP representatives. We recalled the fact that the ETLC approached NET in November 1998 and proposed an informal meeting to identify fields of common interest for possible future cooperation, to which NET never responded. The NET Seminar “Enhancing Tourism’s Potential for Employment” could have been a good opportunity for an initial cooperation in this very crucial field, a chance NET missed by organising the seminar unilaterally.
8.Mergers and alliances in transport and tourism
C&N on shopping tour
Just after Willi Schoppen, Board Member of C&N Touristic AG, had highlighted the trends of an accelerated concentration process in the travel and tourism industry to the participants of the Turin seminar on transnational travel and tourism companies, press reports announced the take over of the French travel agency chain Havas Group by C&N. This nourished rumours of a take over of ClubMed, as more than 30% of the ClubMed tours are sold through Havas.
Only a couple of days later, C&N announced plans for a take over of Thomson Travel Group. Until today Thomson refuses to accept the offer. With these two deals, C&N would overtake TUI and become the biggest tour operator.
Swissair and Sabena
Swissair has reached an agreement with the Belgian government to acquire 85% of the Belgian airline, Sabena. But completion of the deal will depend on ratification of a much larger EU-Switzerland agreement which is now in the process of ratification. The EU-Swiss framework agreements are subject of a referendum in Switzerland on May 21, and have also to go through all 15 EU member state parliaments. The European Parliament assented the agreements on May 4.
European law in effect prohibits the acquisition of more than 50% of the capital of an EU airline company by a non-EU company. A 1992 EU regulation prevents EU member states granting an operating licence to a carrier where the majority interest is not held within the EU. That means, Sabena would lose its EU status and its operating licence, if it came under the control of a non-EU company.
Alitalia and KLM
The alliance between Alitalia and KLM, in force since 1 November 1999, which was the first airline agreement approved by the European Commission under the EU merger rules, has been brought to an abrupt end by KLM on 28 April 2000, as the uncertainty about the situation at Malpensa airport in Milan and about the privatisation of Alitalia bears too high a business risk for KLM. Alitalia has to repay 100 million EURO that KLM had invested in Malpensa, other operational integrations that already had been put in place will be de-merged.
On 14 – 17 June 2000, the Bureau International du Tourisme Social (BITS) will hold its Congress “Tourisme: Facteur de mutations culturelles, sociales et économiques” in Naples. Gianni Baratta, General Secretary of FISASCAT-CISL, will participate in the event.