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Atypical employment only works in the grey areas between the different labour laws and legal systems of different nations. To build bogus self-employment or undeclared work models on a national level is not impossible, but certainly more difficult as tangible rules and regulations apply. But what if workers and employees end up in those 'grey zones' of the European labour market away from their home? Taking a look at the websites of the European Commission, one could assume that everything is taken care of. But unfortunately, this is not the case! And this is why ECA has been driven to highlight these ‘dirty practices’ during the last year, and now is the time to reflect on our progress. We started 2015 with an outstanding Reception at the European Parliament, where the newly elected MEPs had the chance to get first-hand information on this delicate topic and recognize why it hurts the European aviation. 
 Next on our 2015 agenda was a presentation of the final results of the study on 'Atypical Forms of Employment in Aviationcarried out by the University of Ghent. Once again, it was an excellent opportunity for many to get a deeper insight and better understanding on our industry and its challenges.
 The European Commission itself picked up many of our points at their high-level conference on 'A Social Agenda for Transport' in June.  This is where it became quite obvious that things will have to change. And not only in aviation! Throughout the past year, we used each and every opportunity to spread our arguments against bogus self-employment, against zero-hour contracts and against Pay-to-Fly schemes. When talking to Violeta Bulc, EU Transport Commissioner, or in direct contacts with different representatives from the Commission and the Parliament, we had one clear message: continuing these ‘atypical’ developments is not an option. Just before the end of 2015, we were keen to read the Commission’s “Aviation Package”, known as the European vision for the future of this industry. Did this Package present any solution for the pressing social issues and particularly for the many ones “atypically” employed in aviation? No, I’m afraid, it didn’t! The Commission keeps overlooking the fact that young pilots have to start their career with paying for their flight hours on commercial flights or that pilots simply don’t get paid if they can’t fly due to sickness or fatigue. It seems that the EU Institutions still keep on worrying more about ‘decreasing connectivity’ than about the real risk of decreasing safety levels, due to atypical employment forms spreading throughout our industry.  Maybe we haven’t made ourselves clear enough? So we shall continue what we’ve started and make sure that our message is heard and acted upon in 2016. Because the current dirty practices of some players in this industry will not only harm the employment conditions of those working for their passengers’ safety every day , but they will also harm aviation safety at large. And safety, as we all know, is the core value of our industry! by Dirk Polloczek
ECA President