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Stronger together

Aviation workers sometimes face similar problems and sticking together is their best bet when confronting government or employer. Croatian pilots can speak from experience. In 2013, pilots and cabin crew joined forces for a mid-season strike, effectively forcing their airline to finally step into negotiations for a new Collective Labour Agreement.

Who knows what the success rate of this would have been, should pilots have been on their own? But together they made a convincing case. Realising how they were “stronger together”, it was a natural next step for the pilots and cabin crew to formalise their joint forces and set up the umbrella union ORCA in 2016 when a change in national law came into effect as an attempt to weaken small unions. Through the umbrella union, pilots & cabin crew benefited from an environment of solidarity. On top, the leverage in the negotiations and talks with management was much higher.

Through the umbrella union, pilots & cabin crew benefited from an environment of solidarity

This insight, triggered Croatian pilots to seek the experience of other pilot unions functioning under an umbrella of aviation workers’ organisation. The benefits and concrete strategies how to make the best of umbrella unions in the lobbying and negotiations with governments, employers and authorities was the main topic of a 2-day seminar organised by CroALPA (Hrvatski Sindikat Prometnih Pilota – HSPP). The seminar, supported and attended by ECA experts, provided the perfect platform for other pilot unions to discuss and share their success stories and challenges they have overcome. ORCA’s aim is to expand their solidarity and unity even further by growing to include Air Traffic Controllers and airport workers soon.

Together we are indeed stronger.