10Ground Personnel Exposed to Headwinds: Restructuring on Land in Response to Air Deregulation

10.1. The ground worlds

Like the often envied “crew members”, ground employees of legacy carriers also have to face cost-saving policies that are synonymous with cost reductions. These have become as chronic as they are drastic. In turn, the management of large companies that are experiencing difficulties try to play on the division between “skylords” and “ground infantrymen” [ESC 15], or “ground staff”, placed in opposition to their fellow navigators around whom the media coverage of social conflicts is often focused.

But the perimeter of “the ground” extends well beyond strictly company personnel to other populations who are also threatened by the imperatives of the deregulation of the sky, and its organizational and social consequences. Coming from subcontracting companies (their number has increased considerably with the outsourcing of non-core business activities), but also from airport management bodies or public institutions in charge of air navigation, the employees in this universe are spread over relatively distinct professions, which also vary from one country to another. “The ground” also should not be confused with all the activities that revolve around air transport when we look at the collective agreements that govern them. In Switzerland, for example, ground staff does not include all the employees of an airline, airport or company working in this field from the ground. ...

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