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Air traffic controllers signal threat to workers’ rights

Air traffic controllers signal threat to workers’ rights

The European Commission’s attempts to limit air traffic controllers’ right to strike should be condemned in the strongest possible terms, delegates agreed.



plane in sky

Mover Gerard Donnelly (Air Traffic Systems Specialists) explained that last year, following lobbying from large airlines, the European Commission issued a communication to EU member states encouraging them to limit air traffic controllers’ right to strike.

He said that despite the false narrative being spun by the airlines, ATCO strikes only accounted for 1% of flight disruption across Europe.

The Commission’s communication was contrary to EU treaties and International Labour Organisation conventions and a direct attack on essential trade union rights, he argued.

But unions across the continent had come together to fight it through a campaign coordinated by the European Transport Workers’ Federation.

Aaron Curtis (Air Traffic Control Officers) and David Hunter (Scottish Government) said that ATCOs had been targeted because they were a powerful group and that defending their rights was a defence of the rights of all trade unionists.

The motion warned that if the attack on ATCOs’ rights was successful, it would be used as a model to curtail the rights of workers in other sectors, potentially limiting the right to strike for workers everywhere.

Delegates agreed and back the motion’s call to use the union’s influence and resources to promote and support the campaign.

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