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The European Cockpit Association today voiced its concern about the lease by British Airways (BA) of aircraft and crew from Qatar Airways. The lease is being used by British Airways in order to undermine the lawful collective action of a group of BA flight attendants who are trying to improve their wages and working conditions.  The UK Civil Aviation Authority has approved the lease of nine Qatar aircraft and Qatar pilots and flight attendants to staff those aircraft while the labour dispute is underway.

“It is important to understand what is happening here,” said Dirk Polloczek, President of ECA.  Under the arrangement the Qatar crew will be employed under Qatar law and under Qatar employment contracts. There was no meaningful examination of the effect of the lease of the non-EU aircraft and crew on the ability of BA’s flight attendants to exercise their lawful collective rights or on their employment conditions. Qatar receives massive state subsidies from its government.”

“We also believe that the lease of Qatar’s aircraft and crew effectively means circumventing EU rules on the posting of workers.  If no working permits have been requested, the crews would be working in the EU without any government authority approving the employment relationship,”

“This case demonstrates that wet-leasing can have significant social impact. It is essential that the Commission and the UK government assess the consistency of the lease with EU and UK laws and consider the effect of the lease on the employment rights of EU workers now and in the current legislative process dealing with this issue” said Captain Polloczek.