European unions united vs ‘attack on rights’

European union organisations are insisting that any support shown for airline lobby group A4E in their Call To Action to reduce the impact of striking controllers is “naive and short-sighted”.

The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), representing Europe’s air navigation service providers (ANSP), agreed on February 8 to help support A4E to enhance the performance of Europe’s air traffic management (ATM) network in the future.

European controller union ATCEUC and the European Transport Federation have now hit back saying it is not ANSPs’ responsibility to ‘support an attack from airspace users on their own staff’.

Both said they considered the content of the press statement following this event as a ‘dangerous step in the wrong direction’ for the future of European ATM.

ATCEUC and ETF said they wanted to remind people of the ‘common’ practices used by A4E in their lobbying strategies including what they described as: “deceitful figures and information”; “press and communication campaigns aiming at the manipulation of the EU Institutions, passengers and stakeholders, including CANSO, and “repeating messages about the high costs of aviation taxes, airport charges and controller strikes in the hope that the force of repetition leads to general acceptance”.

Charles-André Quesnel, ETF ATM chair commented: “In addition, the EU institutions have no competence on issues related to the organisation and possible limitations on the right to strike. Indeed, requesting that the impact of industrial action on passengers must be minimised notably by a compulsory minimum of 72 hours notification of participation in a strike is a responsibility of member states, ANSP and trade unions. ATCEUC and ETF wish to remind that the national interest should not be guided by an airline association whose sole aim is to increase the profits of its members.”

“We would like to remind the fundamental high safety function of ATM staff and their day-to-day responsibility to organise the air traffic in a safe way. Some of their industrial actions aimed at improving the safety of the passengers. ATCEUC and ETF have developed a strong cooperation to eliminate any risks on safety.”

Volker Dick, ATCEUC president, added: “It is a pity that inside A4E a specific low fares airline boss is attempting to destroy workers’ rights. Now all the other A4E members are engaged in this aggressive and unethical employment behaviour that is jeopardising controllers’ social rights. Day after day, A4E continue to reveal their true nature: an aggressive and dangerous lobby group only concerned with its own financial interests and without any social responsibilities’.”

ATCEUC and ETF pointed out that last year CANSO agreed upon a ‘Toolbox for Successful Social Dialogue’ aimed at preventing conflicts and promoting good relations within ANSPs. “We wish to see CANSO and its members focusing and promoting constructive discussions based on this toolbox rather than attempting to limit their impact after relationships have broken down,” they said.


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