By Peter Stevenson
THE Air Traffic Controllers European Unions’ Coordination (ATCEUC) is calling on its 14,000 members to join a pan-European action day on October 10 against the European Commission’s (EC) attempt to deregulate every profession that ensures the safety of passengers in the skies.
“Less than five years have passed since the adoption of Single European Sky II (SES2) and despite its overambitious targets, which have not yet been reached, the EC is trying to change again the legislative framework for aviation in Europe by setting even more unrealistic targets,” an ATCEUC statement said.
As a member of the ATCEUC, The Pancyprian Air Traffic Controllers’ Union (PASEEK) will take part in a four-hour strike on the day between 3pm and 7pm.
Air traffic controllers in other European countries will also be taking part in work stoppages which could affect flights arriving and departing from Cyprus.
“It is now called SES2+ and, together with the related Reference Period 2 targets (RP2), it demands a tenfold increase of flight safety by 2020, while at the same time it is drastically reducing the cost of Air Traffic Management (ATM) and related services by 50 per cent,” the statement added.
This contradiction constitutes a real danger for the future of safe and efficient ATM, the ATCEUC continued, where any change has to be studied carefully and agreed with all stakeholders, in order to ensure that safety is not jeopardized.
“It has to be clear that ATCEUC is not against improving performance with feasible targets. We participated in social dialogue meetings on SES2+ and RP2 and we submitted our views in this regard,” the ATCEUC said.
However, the EC chose to ignore every suggestion submitted by the stakeholders, which included European Union member states.
“It seems that, for the EC, social dialogue is just a smoke screen that serves no other purpose than to give the false impression of a consultation procedure,” the statement added.
The ATCEUC believe the real objectives of SES2+ and RP2 are clear: to liberalise the provision of Air Navigation Services, to deregulate the working conditions of thousands of staff in ATM and eventually to put this essential public interest service in the hands of a few wealthy individuals and companies that have been lobbying to this effect.
“ATCEUC cannot accept this. On October 10, air traffic controllers in 28 European countries will show their opposition to SES2+ and RP2.
Eventually these plans will be brought before the European Parliament.
ATCEUC calls on each and every Member of the European Parliament to reject them for the sake of flight safety and to ensure a viable and safe future for European ATM,” the statement said.
To do otherwise, the ATCEUC concluded, will simply ignore the interests of the people, workers and passengers.