THE RUSSIAN AIRLINE AEROFLOT has had some success in shrugging off its old image of having a poor safety record and an ageing fleet. It recently became the official carrier for Manchester United F.C. However accusations by the pilots’ trade union ShPLS that the company is overworking staff by employing ‘tired pilots who can fall asleep at any moment’ led to a court ruling that Aeroflot must pay 1 billion roubles in unpaid wages for night and hazardous working. Shortly after this decision three union leaders were arrested on currently unproven charges of embezzlement. According to TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, who sent a letter of protest to the Russian ambassador, this appears ‘to be part of an on-going Aeroflot campaign against the airline pilots’ union’. ShPLS have long been trying to get agreement to regulate work and rest schedules, leave, planning, insurance, and health check-ups. The International Transport Workers' Federation believe that despite record profits in the Russian aviation industry ‘flight crews have been reduced and aviation infrastructure continues to decay … That is why the safety standards and infrastructure are still in a very poor situation’.