Solidarity Statement with EUROCONTROL workers

7 Oct 2021

Air safety goes hand in hand with workers’ rights. EUROCONTROL workers face threats of worsening working conditions in what should be Europe’s air safety nerve centre.

It has been clear for many months now that the European aviation industry has been heavily and disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Travel bans, combined with other public health measures to contain the pandemic, have caused economic and mental distress and prolonged uncertainty to the sector’s workers.

Workers in air traffic management (ATM) have not been spared and on the contrary their essential role in ensuring safety and smooth circulation of aircrafts is being undermined by liberalisation efforts around Europe, illiberal and anti-union decisions such as in Hungary and even a deterioration of working conditions at the very core of Europe’s ATM network in EUROCONTROL, the European Organisation responsible for managing the European aviation network.

In solidarity with what is being reported by the Union Syndicale Bruxelles (USB), the union representing EUROCONTROL workers, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) also denounces explicit efforts by the EUROCONTROL Director-General and management to reduce salaries, pensions, and staff rights. Additionally, only temporary and precarious contracts will be offered in the future, which combined with more services being outsourced, will damage the unique expertise of EUROCONTROL. It is clear that this will have serious negative impacts on staff and at the same time in the long-term as the industry recovers. Critically, no respect is being shown to current staff who have continued to ensure the smooth functioning of the Agency for many years and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the many challenges.

The administrative reform that is being put forward by the Director-General calls for unnecessary and detrimental measures in the interest of ‘flexibility’ at work, which hinders rights at work and workers’ well-being.

Additionally, the proposed reform follows the recommendations of the Deloitte consultancy firm that ran an internal study in this regard; neither the reform, nor the study itself were required by the Member States which are signatories of the treaty establishing EUROCONTROL.

The ETF is sadly not surprised that such approach bears the signature of a management which did not shy away from ridiculing the ATM workers’ fundamental right to strike on Twitter only a few weeks ago. All employers should respect all workers rights, EUROCONTROL is no exception.

EUROCONTROL workers can count on our solidarity!