OSM Aviation, the Norwegian firm that supplies pilots to low-cost carrier (LCC) Norwegian, has signed a labor agreement with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ITF, which represents more than 5 million transport workers in 150 countries, lays the foundation for further union representation and collective bargaining rights among OSM’s crews.

“We now employ 2,700 pilots and cabin crew, and want to offer them long-term and secure jobs. Our agreement with the ITF will help achieve this, and supports the agreements we already hold with a number of unions in countries where we’re represented,” OSM Aviation CEO Espen Høiby said.

OSM Aviation recruits, appoints, trains and administers flight crew. The company has bases in 14 countries and has nine airline customers, but Norwegian is OSM’s largest client. The MOU will be implemented across the OSM network.

ITF said the agreement will ensure OSM’s adherence to freedom of association, organization, collective bargaining, grievance and arbitration procedures, as well as the guarantee of regular meetings between unions and management.

“We’ve followed developments in international aviation with concern. New players have emerged with models that challenge workers’ rights, aggressively pushing forward the race to the bottom. What that means in practice is an under-regulated industry, where standards for workers are in decline. OSM Aviation is taking steps to promote permanent employment and orderly pay and working conditions. That’s a good starting point,” ITF general secretary Steve Cotton said.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), which is a member of ITF, welcomed the agreement and said it has been recognized by OSM since 2015.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com