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EGATS (EUROCONTROL MUAC), GdF (Germany), GLCCA (Luxembourg), SNCTA (France), SwissATCA (Switzerland), TUEM (EUROCONTROL MUAC), VNLG (The Netherlands), in solidarity with the Belgian Air Traffic Controllers decided to boycott next official 8th of May FABEC 2nd layer workshop in Langen Germany.
The 7 staff representative Organisations organised in MARC, decided to react following the recent events in SKEYES (Belgium's Air Navigation Services Provider). The working conditions of Air Traffic Controllers and the social climate are now at a detrimental point. Our Belgian colleagues are regularly working ten, or more, days in a row.
The general level of fatigue has reached some worrying limits. The level of stress and responsibilities of Air Traffic Controllers combined with the high complexity of the Belgian airspace are making this situation no longer sustainable.
Not only the health of the Belgian Air Traffic Controllers, but also the safety of the Belgian sky and European citizens could be endangered if the situation continues like this.
The two Belgian Organisations, organised in the Marc Group, ACV and BGATC have been struggling in vain to alert SKEYES management and the Belgian authorities about this situation.
The CEO of SKEYES is the champion of Human Resources in FABEC. The 7 staff representative Organisations doubt that the conditions, necessary for a constructive social dialogue in FABEC, are guaranteed.
Volker DICK (TUEM president) says “The situation has been deteriorating for at least 5 years: high level of understaffing, controllers working too many consecutive days including night shifts and morning shifts has become day-to-day business at SKEYES.
The level of social tension has become unbearable for Air Traffic Controllers working at SKEYES, while they are falsely accused in the press by their political leaders. I’m personally very worried by this situation.”
Jean-Denis LARRERE (SNCTA, délégué Europe) “Now, we do need to find real and sustainable solutions for our colleagues and the whole ATM industry in Belgium. The European Commission is deeply involved in the promotion of the toolbox for successful Social Dialogue in ATM. Solutions do exist, for example with the help of external mediators.
Financed by the European Commission, an important workshop is going to be organised in Gent (Belgium), early June with all FABEC ANSPs and staff trade union representatives. We must take this opportunity to propose concrete steps towards a solution. An open-minded management in SKEYES is needed.”
Matthias Maas (GdF President) “the new European regulation 373/2016 on fatigue will have to be in place on the 1st of January 2020. EASA must absolutely continue to work on the fatigue subject; it would not acceptable to lose any time of this essential safety aspect.”
The 7 MARC group staff organisations urge the SKEYES management, the Belgian authorities and political leaders to fully commit to proper, structural and sustainable solutions for our Belgian colleagues.
The FABEC comprises the airspace of the six States of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland and is one of the busiest in the world.
FABEC handles about six million flights per year - 55% of European air traffic.
Social Dialogue in FABEC is structured in three different layers.
The first layer is the Social Dialogue Committee, a meeting comprised of the FABEC ANSP CEOs and the staff representatives from the various unions in each ANSP.
The second layer takes the form of meetings around a specific theme.
The third layer takes the form of bilateral meetings between the social dialogue manager and specific staff representatives on specific FABEC topics.