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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.
As part of its package entitled ‘Open and connected Europe’, the European Commission announced today its recommendations on the so-called service continuity, including measures affecting the right to strike. The ETF strongly deplores this attempt to limit indirectly this fundamental right guaranteed by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights by proposing measures such as individual notification, protection of overflights and air traffic peak periods.
The proposed measures 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. This article must be understood as a whole, including the way this right is being organised at national level.
What is the true economic impact of air traffic control (ATC) strikes in Europe? Following the allegations expressed by airlines about the consequences resulting of ATC strikes the European Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) and the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) have unveiled today at a press conference in Brussels the real data behind the causes and consequences of flight delays. Our research based on official EUROCONTROL data has namely exposed that airlines themselves are by far the largest cause of delays and account for more than 50 percent of all delays in air traffic.
The right to workers' representation and collective action are enshrined in the founding Treaties of the European Union, while these Treaties stipulate that the EU has no competence on the right of strike which remains fully in the remit of individual Member States. In addition, international evidence shows that free and independent trade unions make a net positive contribution to productivity, competitiveness as well as safety. While we don't deny that industrial action has consequences on the traffic, we reiterate that it belongs to the fundamental rights of workers.
This year we, as Europeans, will celebrate 60 years of the greatest and most successful peace accord in the world. 60 years ago, the Treaty of Rome was signed laying its foundations, and those of the world’s biggest international single market. The economic integration of 1958 then received its proper political dimension through the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992.
In his opening statement to the European Parliament in 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker reinforced the commitment to a social market economy. Furthermore, the Aviation Strategy in Europe of December 2015, includes the need to reinforce the social agenda and create high quality jobs in aviation.
We, as the aviation professionals, who physically bring the countries of Europe together strive not only for the highest standards of safety for those in our care, but to embody the European project in our everyday work.
Joint ATCEUC-ETF Statement on the A4E call for action to attack the right to strike in Air Traffic Management
At the recent summit of the lobby association Airlines for Europe (A4E), Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) signed up to the A4E ‘Call for Action’ which aims among other things at limiting the right to strike in air traffic management. ATCEUC and ETF deplore the support for A4E’s approach since both organisations are of the opinion it is not for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) to join an attack from airspace users on their own staff. Therefore, ATCEUC and ETF consider 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 also recall that the right to strike is enshrined in the EU Treaties.
ETF together with ATCEUC, today published a press release in response to the attack from Airlines 4 Europe (A4E) on the right to strike for ATM workers. A4E have been particularly vocal over the last few months, heavily criticising ATM personnel who strike to defend their rights. ETF maintain that the right to strike is protected by European treaty and is a matter for national law. Furthermore A4E have published a study based on inaccurate data, vastly inflating the impact of strikes, and failing to recognise many other causes of delay to the public, which is mostly in their gift. ETF and ATCEUC have responded today with a joint statement, exposing the inaccuracies of this study, and the fact that the right to strike is enshrined in EU treaty. ETF firmly believe that the way to address strikes is to have proper social dialogue in line with the Toolbox that has been developed by the social partners. The statement is published below, please feel free to redistribute at national level.
IMPROVING TOGETHER THE FUTURE OF ATM
On 8 - 9 September 2016, the ATM social partners met in Bratislava for the final conference of their joint social dialogue project. Besides members of ATCEUC, ETF and CANSO, the audience included experts, representatives of professional organisations and other stakeholders.
Welcome and keynote speeches were delivered by the Slovak Director General for Civil Aviation, the CEO of the Slovak Air Navigation Services providers and the European Commission.
In the context of fundamental changes that European air traffic management is undergoing, the three social partners (SP) confirmed the need for a genuine and effective social dialogue that will help deliver the solutions understood and embraced by workers and management alike. They jointly presented the Toolbox For Successful Social Dialogue in ATM that they produced. They noted the support of the European Commission for it.
The participants had the opportunity to exchange on a number of important topics, such as just culture and occurrence reporting, new technologies and automation, task safety impact assessment and ATCO licensing. All of these topics were discussed in the context of social dialogue and staff involvement.
At the end of the conference, the social partners adopted a joint statement summing up the results of the project and reiterating their commitment to continue working together.
download the statement : atm-sp-joint-statement
ETF AND ATCEUC REJECT COMMISSION’S STUDY ON MINIMUM SERVICES
ETF and ATCEUC, the ATM Social Partners representing workers, sent a letter to Commissioner Bulc informing her that the two organisations refuse to participate in the study on minimum services in air traffic management. First of all, the right to strike is according to Article 153 of the TFEU not an EU competence. Secondly, the Commission ignores the fact that strikes and industrial actions are the expression of social difficulties and bad social dialogue. Among other things, the excessive pressure has been caused by the performance pillar of the SES which created many difficulties in every ANSP in Europe.