Brussels limiting fundamental rights: ATCEUC

European union chiefs have denounced Brussels’ preferred ways of offsetting the impact of future strike action by air traffic controllers.

The recommendations proposed in the European Commission document Aviation: Open and Connected Europe were published last week.

The Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) of 32 professional and autonomous trade unions representing more than 14,000 controllers throughout Europe accuse the proposals as being a ‘new step in the Commission’s constant pressure against European air traffic controllers, and particularly, against their right to strike’.

It said that pledges contained in the European Parliament report on an Aviation Strategy for Europe have been ignored by the European Commission such as the right to form and join a trade union and to undertake collective action is a fundamental right and must be respected.

It points to a study published in March by both the ATCEUC and ETF which it claimed demonstrated with official data that, by far, the largest share of flight delays is the airlines’ responsibility.

“The measures proposed by the European Commission are based on a study, clearly inaccurate with misleading figures,” the ATCEUC said. “With the promotion of individual notification, protection of overflights and air traffic peak periods, the European Commission is trying to impose strong limits in the exercise of these fundamental rights of the European Union, as stated in the Charter of Fundamental rights of the EU.”

“Moreover, the European Commission seems to no longer respect the spirit of Article 153 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which stipulates that the EU has no competences on the right of strike which remains fully within the remit of individual member states.”

Volker Dick, ATCEUC president said: “With these recommendations, the European Commission is acting as a mirror. The airline lobby organisation’s proposed recommendations have simply been copy-pasted.”

“ATCEUC and the associated national unions are fully aware of the importance, for the whole European Union and its citizens, of a safe affordable and continuous ATM service. This awareness has been the main driver of the work performed, together with ETF and CANSO, to deliver a set of mutually agreed recommendations aimed at preventing conflicts and promoting good industrial operational cooperation.

“A qualitative social dialogue between companies and workers’ representatives is the best pre-requisite way to prevent industrial action and limit their impact.” he said, adding, “European air traffic controllers demonstrate in their daily activities the highest degree of competencies necessary to accomplish their difficult tasks. The continuation of this blame culture by European bodies is no longer an option. The right to strike is a fundamental one and we are determined to defend it.”

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