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SOCIAL DIALOGUE IS NEEDED MORE THAN EVER TO BUILD THE SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY!

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.

THE ETF REJECTS THE MARKET-DRIVEN APPROACH FOR THE SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY!

Following the report on the Future of the Single European Sky drafted by the ‘Wise Persons Group’ (WPG) created by the European Commission, the ETF deplores that the recommendations are oriented to please the airlines to the detriment of the other stakeholders. The ATM staff are more and more critical to the method which consists of listening mainly officials who have a business-driven sensitiveness against the quality of the service. For the ETF, it is clear that the safety and the security of the passengers and the non-flying citizens on ground are paramount.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), which represents more than 15.000 Air Traffic Controllers and all the other categories of the Air Traffic Management (ATM) staff, noticed, for instance, that the Social Dialogue doesn’t exist for the ‘Wise Persons Group’ while it is indispensable to smoothly achieve all the changes proposed in the report. At EU level, the social partners can make recommendations to their members notably to create success stories through a good and genuine social dialogue.

The ETF is not rejecting a digital European sky by a progressive increase of the level of automation support, new technologies as well as the use of interoperable systems. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the modernisation of the European ATM leading to a new organisation of the work, especially at the workplace, needs to be carefully monitor notably through a change management process established together with the staff representatives at all levels. It is a pity that staff such as AIS/AIM had no representative in this WPG.

The ATM is a service of general interest and it is the ETF view that safety seems to play a marginal role for the WPG compared to other criteria such as economic performance. It is the case when the WPG proposes to set up an independent competent economic regulator which would oversee the performance of service providers. The ETF is totally opposed to such a body which will be lobbied by the airlines associations, without a public control.

At the same time, Eurocontrol would have more power as Network Manager (NM), with the risk of becoming a new monopoly, which is against the EU policy. The most important is that the WPG does not mention that the first mission of the NM is safety and not a creator of capacity. Strangely, they want to empower it for managing the capacities of the service providers but not towards the behaviour of the airspace users which is causing a lot of inefficiencies in the network.

In conclusion, the ETF calls the European Commission to organise a round table with all concerned parties to discuss this report in order to come to a more balanced approach. There would be a real added value to ask the opinion of all the EU ATM staff representatives to make the Single European Sky more efficient in the future.

info@etf-atm.org