By Andy Sambidge
International Transport Workers’ Federation hails 'victory' amid fears of major job losses
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has welcomed the planned exit of Qatar Airways as a major stakeholder in Luxembourg's all-cargo airline Cargolux.
Qatar Airways bought a 35 percent stake from the Luxembourg government and other parties last summer, but has decided to pull out after failing to agree on a strategy for the airline during meetings on Friday.
The decision was hailed as a "victory" by ITF's member union, the OGBL which led a campaign to prevent a takeover and the potential loss of thousands of jobs.
The ITF incorporates 708 unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers in 154 countries.
Gabriel Mocho, secretary of the ITF’s civil aviation section, said in a statement: “This victory comes just days after an OGBL-led demonstration against these potentially disastrous plans, and is proof that rightful resistance pays off.”
He added: “We in the ITF were at that demonstration and have been pleased to help this campaign, but it’s the OGBL that deserves all the recognition for raising the alarm about the danger of job losses and the death of democracy and dialogue in the company.”
At a protest last week, Hubert Hollerich, OGBL spokesperson on aviation affairs, said: “The OGBL is opposed to selling off one of the jewels of the Luxembourg economy to a state that does not know the concept of parliament, trade unions, social dialogue and democracy.”
On Saturday, a Cargolux spokeswoman told Reuters: "The Luxembourg and Qatari shareholders disagreed on the future strategic orientation of the airline, which led to Qatar's decision to pull out of Cargolux."
Cargolux reported a net loss of $18.3m in 2011 compared to a $59.8m profit the previous year and blamed oil prices, higher leasing costs and excess capacity in the global air cargo market.