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On the initiative of its Director General Mr Eamonn Brennan, EUROCONTROL commissioned a “fundamental review” of the Agency’s activities. The contract was awarded to Deloitte in September 2020 and a final report was published at the end of January.
Both ETF and ATCEUC agree that despite its ambitions, the review and its 17
recommendations appear nothing more than a collection of incoherent statements, without any in-depth analysis of their effectiveness, their impact or their cost. It is extremely surprising that Deloitte considered this report fit for publication: for one, it clearly goes well beyond the terms of reference, to the point of suggesting significant institutional changes to the Agency’s setup – something that was explicitly excluded from the scope of the review.
Charles - André Quesnel, Chair of the ETF ATM Committee, added: “The review makes vague,completely unsubstantiated projections of cost savings while clearly risking disruptions to service delivery of Maastricht UAC, Europe’s only cross-border ATC centre, and other essential services of the Agency such as training and research and development. Some recommendations will substantially increase the costs for the airspace users and Member States, as Mr Brennan appears to be prepared to drastically change the core mission of the Agency as an independent and neutral entity at the service of both the States and the airspace users.”
Volker Dick, President of ATCEUC, noted: “While the report is concerning in itself, we are extremely disturbed by the methodology, or more precisely the lack thereof, that Deloitte used. All stakeholders were asked different questions, and we have the distinct impression that staff representatives were only included to give an impression of objectivity. None of the
questions we were asked, and certainly none of the answers, are reflected in the report.”
Mr Dick continued: “The study is nothing more than a very obvious attempt from Mr Brennan to hollow-out the EUROCONTROL Agency and to push more things towards privatized subsidiaries of the larger ANSPs. The distress this review has caused within the Agency and beyond – the study recommends a privatized Maastricht UAC takes over the Karlsruhe
airspace – is considerable. Many of our members have expressed anxiety and concerns for their immediate future. In a safety-critical, operational environment and during a global health crisis of unseen proportions, it shows a complete lack of managerial responsibility for the well-being of the Agency’s staff!”
ETF to stop all activities linked to DG MOVE in ATM field over attacks to jobs and working conditions
ETF has decided to stop all activities related to DG MOVE in the air traffic management field for the next three months, after receiving several reports of employers being pushed by two of DG MOVE officials to lower ANSPs’ labour costs. ETF believes these activities are in line with the interests of airspace users. However, their interests cannot be protected and favoured over workers’ interests. This demonstrates, once again, the strong influence of airspace users over the European Commission to the detriment of other actors in the aviation system.
With these actions, the Commission has overstepped the boundaries of its role. Its duty is not to come up with such suggestion, as the institution does not have any competences regarding working relations between employers and employees. Such behaviour is also in conflict with the work of national authorities and tries to undermine them. National authorities have taken different approaches to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, and many put various employment protections in place to prevent a social crisis. It is unclear why two European civil servants believe it is in their power to push for laying off ANSPs’ employees and cutting their pay.
The main motive behind these lobbying efforts seems to be a desire to take advantage of an already difficult situation for the aviation industry. ANSPs have been facing a total absence of revenues since the beginning of March while maintaining 24/7 services. The work and dedication of ETF members need to be recognised, and all efforts directed at supporting ATM employees, instead of lobbying against them.
After providing continuous and flawless service during COVID-19, helping bring European citizens home and transport masks and other vital health care equipment, the news of DG MOVE working against ANSPs’ employees is a slap in the face. ETF condemns the civil servants’ actions during these already difficult times for aviation workers around the continent and demand clarifications on the subject. Until then, ETF is stopping our cooperation with DG MOVE in the field of ATM.
European aviation has been amongst the first industries to be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and will be one of the hardest hit. Support to the workforce and the industry will ensure a lifeline for the sector that will guarantee its recovery after the pandemic. ETF calls for conditional financial aid to aviation-sector companies and immediate support to all workers in civil aviation, with special attention given to the most vulnerable among them.
Workers that make European aviation move are a heterogeneous group – from aircrew, over air traffic management to ground handling, catering and cleaning staff. In large parts of aviation, precarious work prevails over traditional work contracts, and zero-hour contracts or temporary agency work are booming. Precarious workers’ salaries are significantly below national averages and in some cases even below the poverty line. These groups of workers were immediately affected by the COVID-19 crisis as they had no reserve to fall back on.
ETF calls on the European Institutions and the Member States to put in place a rescue plan consisting of direct support for workers as well as conditional financial aid to aviation-sector companies.
Financial assistance can only be granted if the respective company respects job retention and income protection measures. All aviation companies must be aware of their social responsibility and make sure that their most valuable asset – the workforce – is adequately protected.
Any financial aid to aviation-sector companies should also be conditional on a ban on pay-out of dividends to shareholders in 2020 (as a minimum) and a ban on stock buybacks by companies.
EU must ensure that the European idea of integration and democracy materialises for the working people and specifically for the most vulnerable.
Please download the statement here :
Being the sole representative of all categories of European aviation workers across the whole industry, the ETF Civil Aviation Section reiterates its urgent call to the decision-makers at EU and national level to safeguard the future of European aviation. Our industry is at a crossroads: either the current COVID-19 crisis completely decimates it or we turn the current events into an opportunity to rebuild the sector and learn lessons from the past.
As we already said in our previous statements, urgent measures are needed in the short, medium and long term.
Please download our statement here:
You can also download a joint statement we have published with the other social partners here:
ETF, representing more than 25000 workers in Air Traffic Management services, is the only organisation representing all ATM workers at European level. (see presentation of our ATM committee here)
Since the beginning of the Single European Sky initiatives, one objective has always been to introduce more market into Air Navigation Services Provision.
We can not support initiatives leading to unbundling of tasks assigned to ANSSs (Air Navigation Services Specialists). The ETF is promoting a cooperative approach to ensure safety through proximity of ATM staff.
More on this leaflet.
Following the first round table discussions on the future of the Single European Sky on 28 May 2019 and the report of the Wise Persons Group (WPG), please find below follow up comments on behalf of the ETF with respect to those discussions and the WPG report.
Overall, we are disappointed that the ETF was not involved at all in the works of the WPG despite the fact that we represent 30.000 employees (in all categories of ATM staff: ATCOs, ATSEPS, AIS, administrative staff).
In addition, there has been little involvement of staff in the recent work involving the evolution of SES:
• Although there was a consultation process for the Airspace Architecture Study (AAS), our inputs were not properly considered. Some concepts such as ADSP bring many social consequences that were not discussed at all.
• Regarding the WPG, all ATM social partners from the employee side are quite critical towards the report. This again is further evidence that the Commission is not adequately considering the expertise of the ATM workers that is available, and it is the daily front line workers that are most aware of the problems the ATM industry is facing today.
There is an unhealthy culture emerging that is suggesting that the recommendations cannot be challenged, and are taken by default as correct. This is a dangerous assumption. Healthy, constructive challenge and exchange of ideas (which ETF strives to provide) can only help to strengthen any proposals going forward.
Finally, the approach followed by the WPG totally ignores the importance of the social dialogue in the EU polices and mechanisms to be implemented. Without a qualitative social dialogue, that allows management and unions to find joint solutions at all levels, including at EU level, any policies or recommendations will encounter concrete difficulties in the definition and implementation phases.
Do you think that right to strike is a fundamental right for all workers?
The EU Commission is trying to blame air traffic management staff for flight delays and encourage countries to limit their right to strike. That’s not #FairTransport!
Strikes in air traffic management are not a major cause of delays, and workers strike to defend safety for all passengers. Anyway, this is an area where the EU has no power, so why are they interfering?
Today air traffic management staff are under attack, but tomorrow could be your turn. The right to strike must be protected. If you agree with us, sign this petition from ETF and ATCEUC here:
In the framework of their joint social dialogue project entitled ‘Reinforcement of Social Dialogue in the field of Air Traffic Management’, the ATM Social Partners (ATCEUC, CANSO and ETF) jointly identified change management, the social impact of the introduction of new technologies and automation as key priorities for their future work.
The purpose of this paper is to define principles for the management of significant changes which will impact the company, management and staff and to outline guidelines for both managers and unions to enable the change management process to operate smoothly. It is recognised that any significant transformation programme will create people issues, involving changes to jobs, development of new skills and capabilities which will cause uncertainty and possible resistance.
The Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) and the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) have launched today a campaign to oppose the European Commission will to shape and limit the Air Traffic Controllers(ATCOs)’ right to strike. Indeed, Commission encroaches the national sovereignty of Member States as the right to strike falls outside the scope of the Treaties.
The recommendations of the European Commission that are inside the Communication ‘Aviation: Open and Connected Europe (COM 2017) 286 final’ dated on 8 June 2017 significantly encroach the national sovereignty of Member States and contradict the Article 153 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which clearly states that the right to strike is excluded from EU competencies.