Cyprus Mail

Ten days on, air traffic staff still have gaping hole in ceiling, they say

Photo: Christos Theodorides

THE air traffic control centre in Nicosia, where part of the ceiling collapsed on June 13 remains unrepaired, the Pancyprian public sector union (Pasydy) said on Saturday.

‘No progress has been made since June 13,” the statement said.

An air traffic controller was slightly injured in the incident, which sparked a torrent of criticism from employees and unions.

“The only thing that prevented him sustaining only a concussion and not something more serious was just pure luck,” the Pasydy statement said.

Pasydy said on Saturday that as of June 13, the employees have been working under scaffolding but nothing has been done to fix the actual ceiling. Now they say they’re worried the floor will collapse under them from the weight of the equipment and scaffolding if the ceiling underneath is as damaged as theirs was to the point where it fell in on its own.

“We go to work every day and do not know if we will be able to return home to our families,” the union said in a written statement on behalf of the employees.

According to the union, the state budget includes funds of €323,000 for the maintenance and repair of buildings and another €200,000 for building and office maintenance, and that at the same time they have a new building in Kokkinotrimithia, which is not being used and instead the taxpayer is paying rent for an old run-down building in the Athalassas area.

“We also consider it wrong to choose the same contractor to repair the damage since he was the one who last October supposedly refurbished the now-collapsed roof,” the Pasydy statement added.

The union said that the state needs to move forward with the repairs and not waste more time.

On Wednesday, two international bodies representing air traffic controllers said the ceiling collapse was the result of years of mismanagement and underinvestment.

Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) and the  International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFACTA) in an announcement expressed their sympathy with the employees of the department of civil aviation (DCA) and the effects that this accident has on their working environment.

“This will increase pressure on the workforce, reduce morale and will create further delay and safety concerns in the area,” the announcement said, adding that the two organisations had criticised the working conditions in Cyprus for more than 10 years.


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