Workers in more than 40 airports are gearing up for worldwide demonstrations that could cripple up to a third of global air travel.
The protests slated for Oct. 2 are predicted to impact 4 million passengers travelling through major airports in 13 countries. These include LAX, Schiphol (Amsterdam), Charles De Gaulle (Paris), and Flughafen (Frankfurt).
The global day of action will be led by the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the UNI Global Union.
Workers around the world are hoping to win concessions similar to the minimum wage hike granted to tens of thousands serving airports in New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority in the two states voted to approve the pay increase of $19 an hour.
Airport contract workers – such as baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, security officers, and other auxiliary personnel – who will take part in the upcoming protests are demanding fair wages, better work conditions, and union rights. They often earn low wages without benefits.
In contrast, the global airline industry they support is forecast to earn US$38.4bn in 2018.
“In city after city all across the [US], airport workers have won raises – doubling their income in some cities – and the right to form a union,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of Service Employees International Union, which represents 2 million workers.
“We won’t stop until all working people – white, black and brown – can join together in unions for the power in numbers to win higher wages, affordable healthcare, and a better life for their families,” Henry said.