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Intervention de ETLC (François BALLESTERO) PDF Imprimer Envoyer
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Jeudi, 08 Novembre 2012 08:24

11th European Tourism Forum - Nicosia, 25 October 2012

Francois Ballestero - Political Secretary for Civil Aviation and Tourism
European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF)
on behalf of ETLC


Dear Chair,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the European Trade Union Liaison Committee on Tourism (ETLC), which represents all the workers in the tourism industry, I would like to thank you for your warm welcome and to have invited us to address this 11th European Tourism Forum.

In a period of economic recession and of high level of worldwide competition, Europe must make the difference. In the trade union movement, we think that the key is to improve the quality of or services.

You know that 3 years ago, the ETLC has adopted and presented the European Trade Union Charter on Tourism. That is why we were very pleased when the Commission launched its proposal for a European Charter for Sustainable and Responsible Tourism. If we wish to give a high profile to this Charter, we think that it has to be based on and fully integrate the common international and European principles and values as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and, last but not least, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.


A sustainable tourism must integrate three dimensions: the economic, the environmental and the social one. On the latter, we insisted in our comments to the Charter to target the citizen (of course), but also the workers, because without the workers, we cannot have quality of services. One of the most important things for the customers during their tourism period is the quality of the relations they had with the staff (welcome, spirit of service, quality of communication, etc).

To ensure that tourism is an attractive sector to work in and that jobs in tourism are sustainable, the precariousness of employment has to be reduced and the social conditions have to be improved, through collective bargaining at the various levels. Tourism workers need stable jobs with foreseeable working time schedules, allowing them to combine professional and private/family life, providing them with decent income and adequate social protection. They also need to have training possibilities (lifelong learning), to get qualifications and acquired skills recognized and rewarded, and to find career paths in the sector.

Social achievements, such as the rights of workers to paid annual leave, and growing living standards are the very basis for tourism. Therefore, highest priority should be given to safeguarding and further developing the European social model (social protection, social cohesion, public services and collective agreements).

Quality jobs and quality of the social dialogue are prerequisite for the quality of the services that the citizens deserve.

For this reason, the trade union movement welcomes the European Tourism Quality Label (proposed by the Commission), provided that also tourism quality labels focusing on social criteria only are eligible for “accreditation”; i.e. labels that assess quality of employment, respect of workers’ and trade union rights, adherence to collective agreements and social dialogue, fair treatment of mobile and migrant workers, compliance with information and consultation rights of workers and trade unions in case of outsourcing, subcontracting, or restructuring, the entry of investment capital, etc. Ideally, all quality labels should incorporate social criteria.

Finally, we have been asking for the creation of a European Tourism Observatory for a long time. This is why we welcome the initiative of the Commission to set up a Virtual Tourism Observatory. For us it is essential that such an observatory encompasses the monitoring of employment, working conditions and qualifications, for instance. It has to be done by involving all stakeholders, particularly social partners.

In conclusion, you understood that, for the European Trade Union Liaison Committee on Tourism, the EU target must aim to improve the quality in tourism. This quality is important at the beginning of the holidays when the citizens buy their travel tickets, when they go inside the plane, the bus, the ship or the train, when they arrive at the hotel, when they go the restaurant, when they visit the fantastic cultural heritage we have in Europe, and when they come back home. The human factor is the answer! The technologies cannot take care of you. Only satisfied workers can give a quality of the services which makes the tourist say at the end of the holidays: “Darling, we spent fantastic holidays this year!”

Thank you very much.

Francois Ballestero

Political Secretary for Civil Aviation and Tourism

European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF)

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