Our Rights - Your Safety

Defending the right to strike of Europe's ATM staff

Our Rights Your Safety LogoThe European Commission is encouraging member states to limit the right to strike for workers in air traffic control (ATC). This is a clear attack on a fundamental right, and also an area where the Commission has no power to intervene. Moreover, ATC strikes are not the major cause of Europe’s flight delay problem.

ETF will not let these threats pass. We have launched a campaign with our social partner ATCEUC to defend ATC workers’ – and all transport workers’ – right to strike.

Our Rights – Your Safety

Trade unions representing thousands of workers in the European air traffic management sector are calling on the European Commission to respect the right to strike of Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs). A joint campaign from ETF and the Air Traffic Controllers’ European Union Coordination (ATCEUC) was launched in November 2017 to oppose the European Commission in its plans to shape and limit ATCOs’ right to strike.

The Commission’s strategy is revealed by the “best practices” inside its document ‘Aviation: Open and Connected Europe (COM 2017)’ of 8 June 2017. The suggestions about limiting strikes in air traffic management significantly encroach on the national sovereignty of member states. They also contradict 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.

Therefore, we have launched a petition to tell the European Commission to back off. We call on the Commission:

  • to respect ATCOS’ rights, which are enshrined in the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental rights
  • to refrain from any actions restricting these rights

Every day, air navigation service providers and their staff achieve an impressive level of safety and quality for all airspace users. By attacking air traffic controllers, the balance of the whole aviation chain could be put at risk. While ATCEUC and ETF understand that European citizens would prefer even less delays and more capacity, staff representatives believe that Europe has to be proud of its air traffic management system. Indeed, disruptions caused by industrial actions in air traffic management represent only 1% of the total delays (Eurocontrol’s official figures from 2015).

No doubt, this initiative has only one aim and expects only one tangible result: to restrict the right to strike in Europe. But ATM unions are determined to defend this fundamental right!

If you want to support air traffic controllers and ultimately all European citizens, sign our petition!

Header image by NATS shared on CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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