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EED - Resumen conflicto de la estiba-EED - Summary of the stowage conflict

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 19:46

EED - Resumen conflicto de la estiba
El Estrecho Digital

Published on Jul 3, 201
Hacemos un repaso a los principales momentos del conflicto de la estiba que, desde el minuto uno, El Estrecho Digital ha querido seguido, estando al pie de la noticia, adelantando la mayoría de los avances que se iban dando en las negociaciones, tratando de contar con el máximo rigor periodístico cualquier paso que se daba para lograr el fin de un conflicto que celebramos junto a los miles de lectores que cada día nos siguen y, en especial, por la tranquilidad que pueda llegar a partir de ahora a esos 1.800 estibadores, y sus familias, del puerto de Algeciras. Enhorabuena y ¡ni un paso atrás!.

EED - Summary of the stowage conflict
The Digital Strait

Published on Jul 3, 201
We review the main moments of the stowage conflict that, from the minute one, El Estrecho Digital has wanted followed, being at the bottom of the news, anticipating most of the advances that were taking place in the negotiations, trying to tell with the maximum journalistic rigor any step that was taken to achieve the end of a conflict that we celebrate together with the thousands of readers who follow us every day and, especially, for the peace of mind that can come from now to those 1,800 stevedores, and their families, from the port of Algeciras. Congratulations and not a step back !.

Tags: port of Algeciraslongshore workers struggle
Categories: Labor News

Protesting workers at bankrupt Air Berlin denounce Merkel government

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 11:45

Protesting workers at bankrupt Air Berlin denounce Merkel government
By Gustav Kemper
27 November 2017
More than a thousand employees of the insolvent airline Air Berlin protested last Wednesday in front of Berlin Central Station to oppose mass layoffs. The workers were accompanied with family members and supporters from all over Germany
Insolvency proceedings were officially opened on 1 November, after Lufthansa agreed to take over 81 Air Berlin aircraft, plus Air Berlin’s landing rights at various airports. The British airline EasyJet secured another 20 aircraft. Other bidders that offered to take over the Air Berlin workforce were not taken into account by the insolvency administrator and the German government.
Demonstrators were angry and fiercely criticised the way the deal had been reached behind their backs by the German government, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr and Air Berlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann.

The protest in front of the main terminal
Both Lufthansa and EasyJet refused to take on the staff of Air Berlin. Instead employees are being told to reapply for jobs at Eurowings-Europe, a Lufthansa subsidiary based in Vienna, on terms well below their previous salaries.
The demonstration was organised by a group headed by a stewardess from Düsseldorf, Chantal Meyer, who has worked for the company since 2004. She spoke to the World Socialist Web Site at the rally held in front of the Chancellery in Berlin.
"We are currently in revocable release from work, which means we have nothing to do, a lot of time on our hands, and no income, unfortunately, because there are no funds left following bankruptcy proceedings." Affected are thousands of Air Berlin workers. Only around 1,700 employees of the Air Berlin subsidiary Niki, headquartered in Vienna, have retained their jobs.
Meyer organised the protest to demonstrate "that we will not be blackmailed into reapplying for our own jobs." Air Berlin workers applying for position as the rival cheap fare Eurowings company will face estimated wage cuts of 40 percent, and up to 50 to 60 percent for pilots, depending on professional experience.
Meyer and her supporters organised a petition to pressure Lufthansa and the UAE Etihad air company to take the Air Berlin workers and the company’s aircraft. The petition had been signed by 46,123 persons prior to the rally.
The hopes of the protesters are based on paragraph 613a of the German Civil Code (BGB), which protects workforces in company takeovers--at least for a limited time. So far, Lufthansa has justified its refusal to abide by the code by arguing that the law only concerned the takeover of entire concerns, but not the transfer of parts of a company, such as the 81 Air Berlin aircraft.
During the rally, the petition was handed to Gregor Gysi, a leader of the Left Party in the German parliament, who was to hand it to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Responding to the WSWS's question as to why she placed her hopes in Gysi, a politician who had supported the privatisation of airport ground operations in Berlin ten years ago, which resulted in drastic cuts to pay and working conditions, Chantal Meyer naively responded, "The Gysi of today is not the Gysi of that time."
Gysi read his letter to Chancellor Merkel during the rally. It consisted of a worthless plea that she “take seriously the indignation and despair” of Air Berlin workers. Any hope among workers that such appeals will change the mind of the German chancellor is completely unfounded. Just this summer Merkel flew to Abu Dhabi, along with Lufthansa chief Spohr and Air Berlin CEO Winkelmann, to discuss a takeover of Lufthansa by the Saudi airline Etihad, a move that would result in further attacks on airline workers.
In discussions with WSWS reporters, several protesters explained why many Air Berlin workers were not registering as unemployed with the Federal Labor Office, a fact that the news media has greeted with amazed disbelief.

Protest against Air Berlin boss Winkelmann
Sabine who has worked as a flight attendant at Air Berlin for 17 years described the paradoxical situation. "We are revocable, which means theoretically we can be called back to work, although we have already been instructed to destroy our uniforms." In the event of an irrevocable release from work, she could apply for a job elsewhere or register as unemployed but she did not want to simply quit because "Then I would give up any rights I have to entitlements from Air Berlin", she explained. In addition, other airlines were not offering part-time employment. She has two small children and cannot accept full-time work.
"We have not seen much of the union since the bankruptcy", she replied when asked about the role of the Verdi public sector worker union in the labor dispute. "They should have been active much earlier, but Christine Behle [board member of Verdi] also sits on the supervisory board of Lufthansa," she said, before adding. "It all seems rather corrupt.”
Sabine went on, “Mr. Winkelmann was also with Lufthansa for a long time, before he became our CEO and was able to guarantee his salary with a bank guarantee of 4.5 million euros. He is also a good buddy of Carsten Spohr, the head of Lufthansa."
Daniela, a flight attendant for 15 years, said, "We have done all we can to save the airline for the past three months, since August. We knew it was faring badly, but we always thought that somebody would take care of us and we would obtain secure employment from the new purchasers of the planes. Now we know better. After three months came the so-called ‘revocable release from work’ and now we are all out of a job", she concluded.
Along with Gregor Gysi, the deputy regional director of Verdi Berlin-Brandenburg, Roland Tremper, also addressed the rally. Tremper began by declaring, “Our social system is defined by providing people with a perspective and giving workers and their families an opportunity to live a socially secure and peaceful life”, he said, in remarks that bore little relation to reality.
After a number of accusations against the policy of the Federal Government and the irresponsibility of the company chiefs, Spohr and Winkelmann, Tremper admitted he was also chair of a management committee at the employment agency in Berlin. A week ago, he said, he received an application for mass layoffs of ground staff.
Tremper reported that he rejected any request to approve layoffs that came in the form of a written letter or a teleconference. Instead he demanded a face-to-face meeting so he could look others in the eye and see who was really willing to agree to the dismissal of hundreds of workers. In a few weeks, he would do the same when the application for the mass sacking of cabin crew staff arrived.
"I do not know if it helps. But whether it helps or not, we will not just do via the phone or at the warm desk, definitely not", he impotently declared.
Whether on the telephone, at the desk or via direct eye contact the decision remains the same, with devastating results for Air Berlin employees.

Tags: Air BerlinLeft Partylufthansa
Categories: Labor News

For Flight Attendants, Sexual Assault Isn’t Just Common, It’s Almost A Given

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 11:30

For Flight Attendants, Sexual Assault Isn’t Just Common, It’s Almost A Given
By Jamie Feldman/

“One, it’s a confined space, where flight attendants are charged with de-escalating conflict every single day,” she said.
“I had a conversation with a group of flight attendants ranging from six months seniority to 10 years on Friday and the conversation
basically was, ‘We have to de-escalate everything and sometimes I just choose not to say anything.’ ‘If someone grabs my
butt or pulls me onto their lap, I tell them to knock it off and keep going.’” (See below)

Flight attendant Caroline Bright was kicking off her last shift of the day when she realized one of the pilots on board reminded her of someone.

“I was trying to figure it out, was it a celebrity?” she told HuffPost. “Who does he remind me of?” He looked like her dad, she realized.

“When we landed and were waiting for the van to the hotel, I told him I’d figured it out,” she said. ”I told him, ‘You look like just my dad.’ I had a picture of him on my phone, which I showed to the first officer. ‘Doesn’t he look just like my dad?’” she recalled asking him. ”‘I think they look so similar.’”

The pilot’s response? ”‘It’s been a long time since a girl like you called me daddy,’” she said.

“I felt so grossed out. I turned and looked at the officer and gave him an expression like, ‘What just happened?’ And he just looked at me and shrugged. I remember thinking at the time that I must have said something inappropriate.”

Based on accounts shared with HuffPost from both current and former flight attendants, Bright’s story is among many instances of sexual harassment and assault in the skies. As more and more stories of sexual assault across industries come to the forefront, it’s impossible to ignore the dynamics of the airline industry, which are inherently gendered with origins in the sexualization of women.

From unwanted advances to groping and forced physical contact, assault and harassment are realities seemingly accepted as commonplace by the flight attendants we spoke with, all of whom attested to various levels of unwanted physical contact during their time on the job.

It’s what drives some people, like former flight attendant Lanelle Henderson, out.

Henderson worked for now-defunct Kiwi Airlines in the ’90s and again for a little under a year for now-defunct Airtran in 2004. She told HuffPost that it was her experience in the 2000s that turned her off from remaining in the industry.

Once, a male passenger who’d been drinking began making advances toward her throughout a flight to Dallas–Fort Worth, she told HuffPost.

“He would first grab my hand and compliment me, which in the beginning was flattering,” she said. “But then he grabbed and rubbed my leg. It was mostly embarrassing because the man behind him was looking at me as if to say, ‘What are you going to do?’ And I was just startled and a newbie and trying to be polite.”

Henderson said that the customer blocked her in the galley from moving between cabins. He eventually grabbed her butt. “The man behind him said, ‘Sir, enough already. This girl is not here for your pleasure.’” she said.

Flight attendants told HuffPost that the “customer is always right” attitude mandated by much of the service industry often prevents many flight attendants from confronting in-flight harassment themselves, Henderson said.

Dawn Arthur also became disillusioned during eight years working as a flight attendant in both the commercial and private sector.

“I was really excited [before I became a flight attendant],” she said. “I thought it was so cool. But then you find out that there is no support in the industry. The pilots aren’t trained to handle assault and they don’t want to hear it. It’s not their job.”

Arthur, who told HuffPost she’s been “pushed into a corner and felt up” by passengers, said flight attendants may feel discouraged from taking action in order to avoid an in-flight delay or disturbance.

“If someone grabs you or threatens you, nothing is going to happen. They’re on a tight timetable. They’re not going to stop the plane. And then everyone’s going to be mad at you; you’re not a team player, you’re difficult.”

If there is a trend of keeping assault to oneself in the airline industry, former flight attendant Mandalena Lewis has broken it in a big way. She has not only spoken about her own alleged assault but is in the midst of a lawsuit against her former employer, Canadian airline WestJet, in part, she said, for firing her as a result.

According to Lewis, the company neglected to adequately handle not only her experience with sexual assault in 2010, but with a group of women she is now representing in her case.

Lewis recounted her assault to HuffPost, which happened during a layover in Maui in 2010. She said the incident ultimately led her to firing and discovery of other women who made claims against the same pilot who she said attacked her.

“We were on a layover in Maui, and the whole crew went out for dinner and drinks, totally standard,” she said. “The captain invited people up to his room. It was my second year of being a flight attendant and I was down to go up to the room and have a drink. I ended up going by myself. The first officer’s room was right next door and their door was open a bit.”

Lewis said the pilot had been acting “very father-like” up until that point, when the two of them went on the balcony. “There was nothing inappropriate and I didn’t send him any signals,” she said. “On the balcony, he started asking me really inappropriate questions: do I touch myself privately, do I masturbate, things like that.”

When she turned to leave, that’s when she said the pilot started to attack her. “It started almost like horseplay, gradually becoming more aggressive,” she said. Lewis said he attacked her three times. The first and second involved grabbing her from behind, squeezing her arms and commenting on how strong she was.

“The third time, he grabbed me and put me on the bed and got between my legs,” she said. “He touched my face and told me I wanted it and how strong I was.”

Lewis said she got her heels underneath him and kicked him off of her. “He fell backward into the TV stand. I was shaking, tears were coming down my face.” Lewis said that the airline took her off of flights with the pilot but did not take action to fire him.

It was in 2015 when she says she spoke up about the lack of training surrounding sexual assault during a crew resource management class. She said her concerns were brushed off by the person leading the training, but there were a few people who came over afterward and thanked her for speaking out.

“A few months later, I was on a layover in Toronto and I got a Facebook message from a woman who told me she was in the room during the training,” she said. “She asked if she could call me to tell me her story.”

“Sure enough, she told me that she was raped in 2008 by the same pilot. We didn’t know each others’ stories and we didn’t know each other,” she said.

Lewis told HuffPost both hired lawyers pretty quickly after that, but the other woman later settled with the company. “We dropped the class-action suit and I went forward as an individual case for wrongful dismissal and negligence” in early 2016.

The airline has disputed the claims — as recently as Nov. 9, saying employees should be bringing their cases “to human rights tribunals and workers’ compensation boards instead” of filing a lawsuit, according to Global News. Robert Palmer, manager of public relations for WestJet, declined to comment on “ongoing legal proceedings,” but said the company is “committed to fostering a harassment-free workplace where all employees are treated with respect and dignity.”

While the demographics for flight attendants vary slightly by airline and have shifted over the years, the industry is still majority female ― about 80 percent. But men in the field say they’ve also dealt with unwanted advances.

A male JetBlue flight attendant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told HuffPost he has been grabbed inappropriately multiple times by both men and women. Passengers commonly make comments referring to the mile-high club and “getting him in the back of the plane.”

In the event that a situation escalates, flight crew can notify the pilot, who will decide whether it is necessary to take action, either by speaking to the passenger themselves or, in extreme cases, removing the person from the flight. “Ten out of 10 times they have our side, but diverting and removing a person from the flight is obviously our last option,” he said.

For the people we spoke to, shrugging inappropriate behavior off had become commonplace. Many said even if they wanted to do something about it, the training isn’t there.

Sara Nelson is the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA as well as a 21-year flight attendant with United Airlines. She told HuffPost that in her experience ― along with the experience of some of the 50,000 flight attendants across the 20 airlines the association represents ― there is no exact protocol on how to handle it.

“There is very little training. It’s nonexistent, actually,” she said. “There is training on how to handle assault and aggressive behavior on a plane, but there is no recognition of sexual assault as a unique crime.”

She added that for a flight attendant tasked with getting a job done, it’s easier to just keep things moving than to confront a passenger or bring it to the pilot’s attention.

“One, it’s a confined space, where flight attendants are charged with de-escalating conflict every single day,” she said. “I had a conversation with a group of flight attendants ranging from six months seniority to 10 years on Friday and the conversation basically was, ‘We have to de-escalate everything and sometimes I just choose not to say anything.’ ‘If someone grabs my butt or pulls me onto their lap, I tell them to knock it off and keep going.’”

If allegations in other industries have pushed the conversation forward to put an end to assault, it has also emboldened people who Nelson say feel like they’re “out of the public eye” in the air.

“A flight attendant relayed a situation this week where a guy in the last few rows spoke up and said, ‘When can we get some drinks around here, honey?’” she said. While the flight attendant was still in earshot, Nelson said he loudly added, “‘You can probably get sued for calling someone honey nowadays,’” laughing with the men sitting around him.

Nelson told HuffPost she thinks things have perhaps gotten worse since she started in 1996, due to planes these days being more crowded than ever and equipped with less staff. “In a casual request from our membership about what’s happening today on the plane, we were barraged with examples,” she said.

Flight attendants who worked in the ’60s and ’70s might argue the notion that it is worse, now, though. A Facebook group titled Stewardesses of the 1960s and 1970s, which boasts more than 9,000 members, has a recently posted thread asking members about sexual assault that currently has more than 400 comments.

In spite of the frequency of sexual assault in the air, Nelson told HuffPost that she thinks the CEOs of airlines (most of whom are men) would be “shocked” to find out what’s going on on their planes.

“Men don’t think about this stuff,” she said. “It’s not their experience. They have no idea what it’s like. And even if they are someone who doesn’t participate, I bet if these men are really going to be honest, even the ones who would never do it themselves, have absolutely been sitting there and have done nothing while it’s happening.”

Still, Nelson has hope. “Any time an issue is raised, there is opportunity for change, but I think we are just at the very beginning of the conversation here,” she said, adding, “It doesn’t have to be this way. The more we talk about it and say it’s not OK, the better it will get.”

Tags: Flight AttendantsSexual Harassmentairline workers
Categories: Labor News