BTB wants more women in the airport handling sector

‘More women in the transport sector' is an ETF congress resolution that UBT supports 200%, certainly in the airport handling sector (as at Aviapartner or Alyzia).

Today, less than 5% of handlers at the airport are women. That percentage needs to go up urgently. BTB notes that employers at Belgian airports show little interest in recruiting women. This is certainly the case in baggage handling, where women are currently rare.

At a time when the shortage of skilled workers in the transport industry has never been greater, and certainly in the air handling sector, it is urgent that employers change their mind. “It is high time women were given as many opportunities as men to fill all transport jobs, including that of handler at the airport, and not just in times of labour market shortages. In our company, Aviapartner, we will make every effort to protect and treat women and men with respect. We fight for enough staff to get the job done and for good working conditions for men and women”, says Kamaal Afassi, BTB representative at Aviapartner.

BTB’s demands are clear:

  • no distinction between men and women in the selection, attribution and execution of jobs
  • employers must ensure that there are separate changing rooms and sanitary facilities
  • uniforms, work clothes and safety measures must be adapted for both men and women
  • feasible work for all

For Sandra Langenus, BTB secretary, it is clear: “Women do not want special treatment: they want equal treatment! They have a right to a job in the airport handling sector. A job as a baggage handler is a heavy job for men and women. Employers must take measures so that the job of handler becomes a workable job allowing everyone to continue doing the job. A broken back, broken knees or overworked shoulders are painful for everyone. Dear employers, there is still a lot to do in our sector!”

The baggage handler's job is physically very heavy. You have to work at a high tempo so that the plane should leave on time, in all weather conditions and often outside. An average of 25 tons of luggage passes through the hands of the handlers who operate in teams of 5 to 6 workers. As BTB, we will continue to demand the recognition of “handler” as heavy work so that workers should not be forced anymore to work their fingers to the bone until they retire.
In this respect, employers must make more efforts to ensure better (working) conditions.

BTB lists our minimum demands again:

  • ergonomically adapted equipment and tools
  • enough breaks
  • full staffing of shifts
  • automation solutions that can make physical labour lighter and more bearable

Equal pay for equal work and for feasible work in the transport sector! This was, is and remains the BTB's fight for every woman and every man.