ECONOMY TRANSPORTS

Romanian air traffic controllers threaten strike on September 1

ROMATSA unionists will go on an all-out strike on September 1, at 11am, unless authorities solve by then the problems faced by the employees, said on Monday Gabriel Tudorache, President of the Trade Union of Air Traffic Services in Romania (ATSR).

“We will go on an all-out strike at ROMATSA, in all subunits, on September 1, 2015, 11am, unless the state’s authorized bodies manage to solve the problems we have at ROMATSA by then. I can tell you there are issues of life and death at ROMATSA. So, it is not about money, it is about life and death, it is about passengers’ safety, and the safety of ROMATSA employees. We have over 20 lawsuits against the management. If by September 1 solutions are not found and the state’s bodies take absolutely no action, we will go on this all-out strike, as we have already announced,” said Gabriel Tudorache.

According to him, the impact of the strike “would be catastrophic”.

“The impact will be, in our viewpoint, catastrophic, because the strike will not last only two hours, but it is a general one, which means that only a third of the traffic scheduled every day will fly over Romania and, of course, as the law requires, we will ensure all exceptions, all emergencies, SMURD, Military Police, Presidents etc. Also, I have been informed by the deputy commander of the Romanian Gendarmerie that there was a telephone conversation between our general manager and the [interior] minister and he is expecting us at 2:00pm,” said ATSR President.

In his turn, Florin Diaconu, the union’s spokesperson, said that the situation in ROMATSA has not been caused by low salaries.

“It has come to this not because of salaries. It has come to this because of a matter of life and death, and when we say this we refer to air traffic safety, to the passengers that fly while air traffic controllers are subjected to additional, unnecessary and illegal stress,. We are psychologically terrorized by this Diector surrounded by the entire management staff helping him breach all laws, and make abuses for nine months. You must understand the all-out strike is strictly for the 14 claims. It is been over 30 days since the warning strike and the Director does everything he can to bring the conflict where we do not want it to be. We do not want a general strike. We call, this way, on all state authorities, the minister of transport, the Prime Minister, on all who have the power to make a decision. We do not have to reach an all-out strike, legality must be restored to ROMATSA so that we can carry on our work safely,” said Florin Diaconu.

On July 15, air traffic controllers went on a warning strike for two hours between 11am and 1pm, affectin 17 flights, including 11 takeoffs and six landings.

According to Director General of ROMATSA, Ion Aurel Stanciu, the two-hour strike brought losses of 250,000 euros.

Ponta: I believe things can be solved if good faith is there

Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Monday that the trade unions of the ROMATSA air transport services provider that have announced a general strike for September 1 will have to have a conversation with the transport minister on their grievances before possibly meeting him as well. He voiced hope that when good faith is involved in talks, things can be settled.

“Let them discuss the matter with the transport minister and then… I would like us to find any solutions that will avoid strikes in general. I believe when good faith is involved in talks things can be settled,” Ponta said at the headquarters of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) in response to whether or not he will meet the ROMATSA trade unions.

ATSR’s Tudorache: There is no possibility of avoiding all-out strike on September 1

There is no possibility of avoiding an all-out strike on September 1 because we have found no understanding at the level of authorities, Chairman of the Trade Union of Romania’s Air Traffic Services (ATSR) Gabriel Tudorache said Monday.

Trade union leaders of the ROMATSA air traffic services provider on Monday afternoon met officials of the Transport Ministry to discuss problems facing the company’s employees.

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