The Air Traffic Services’ Trade Union of Romania (ATSR) with national air services provider ROMATSA will go on general strike as of Tuesday, amid dissatisfaction with the way the company is managed.
ATSR leader Gabriel Tudorache said on Monday upon exiting the talks at the Transport Ministry, where ROMATSA ownership and ATSR representatives were present, that after talking with Transport Minister Razvan Cuc there are high chances for the general strike already announced to be halted within a relatively short period of time.
“What we can say right now is that after discussions with the [Transport] Minister, the representatives of the said Ministry and the air authorities of Romania, there are quite high chances for this general strike we have announced for an indefinite period to only last a little while. It is impossible to say right now if it will last one hour, two hours or three hours,” said Gabriel Tudorache (photo), the ATSR head.
The air traffic controllers’ strike entails the suspension of several flights (take-offs/landings) during the protest. But which those exact flights are could not be ascertained at the hour this article went to print. A decision in this regard was set to be taken Monday evening or Tuesday morning by EUROCONTROL, the European authority with prerogatives in the field of air traffic control, which will immediately inform the airlines about the verdict for each flight. The airlines will then inform their passengers.
ATSR President Gabriel Tudorache stated: “The general strike will certainly start tomorrow, at 9 a.m. local time. After discussions with the [Transport] Minister, the representatives of the said Ministry and the air authorities of Romania, there are quite high chances for this general strike we have announced for an indefinite period to only last a relatively short while. It is impossible to say right now if it will last one hour, two hours or three hours. We’re talking about many documents that must be approved, such as decisions of the Board. There are many aspects that have to be solved with the Board, and they cannot be solved by tomorrow morning.”
According to the trade union leader, the decision regarding the flights affected will be taken by EUROCONTROL. “It’s impossible to point out today which airliner will take off and which won’t. 33.3 percent of scheduled flights plus the exceptions will be assured, in line with the law. I believe all companies should know in a timely fashion whether they take off. This is the reason why we have to announce [the strike] 48 hours before, for all airline companies to know in due time and to be able to inform their passengers.”
In what concerns ROMATSA’s situation, the trade union leader said: “There is still a document on which work is still being done. We’re talking about the format of the new cost base, the new budget for 2018, which must be sent by June 5, in line with European regulations. Considering there’s a holiday on June 1-5, we said by May 31st.”
According to an ATSR communique posted on a social media page, the performance plan, “the documents needed to prevent ROMATSA going bankrupt,” must be sent to the European Commission by June 5. Bearing in mind the June 1st to June 5th Pentecost holiday, trade union leaders claim the documents should be sent by May 31st instead.
“Here we are talking about some documents that should be sent to international bodies by May 31st. Here the minister could intervene positively, in the sense that he knew since January. Unfortunately, until we announced the strike the minister forgot or had other problems. It’s mandatory for him to get involved,” ATSR President Gabriel Tudorache said.
“ROMATSA is drafting all documents, the Board approves them, then they are sent to the Romanian Civil Aeronautics Authority (AACR) to be approved and then they end up at the Transport Ministry. The AACR sends the documents to the European Commission, bearing the signature of the AACR Director, the signature of the minister,” the trade union leader explained.
Minister Razvan Cuc after negotiations failed and air traffic controllers went on strike: ROMATSA is not in danger of going bankrupt. I’ll dispatch the Audit Body
“ROMATSA is not in danger of going bankrupt, I wouldn’t allow this to happen. I intend to dispatch the Audit Body to clarify all aspects,” Transport Minister Razvan Cuc stated on Monday after his negotiations with the representatives of the air traffic controllers.
“An idea that I would say is a bit false has been launched. As a minister, I would in no way allow this to happen to a company subordinated to the Ministry. We discussed the performance plan and the modification of Government Ordinance no.46. Considering these are wide-ranging modifications, which require time, we agreed to set a timetable we would implement in the following period,” Razvan Cuc said. He added: “Based on what I understand from trade union members, the problems regarding the performance plan were known by governmental decisionmakers, including last year. Last week, we sent to the European Commission the letter for the reopening of the performance plan, so that all costs and modifications featured in this plan would be taken into account to draft a balanced budget for ROMATSA.”
The Transport Minister expressed his “conviction” that the air traffic controllers’ strike – scheduled to start on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. – will be “fairly short.” “There are no problems on the air safety side. The Aeronautic Authority Director carried out an audit last Friday and informed me that there is no irregularity on the safety side. These things could have been solved since 2016, the incumbent ministers being informed at that time.”
Regarding the visit that trade union leader Gabriel Tudorache paid in January, the Transport Minister pointed out: “This was due to an unannounced control that I carried out at ROMATSA one night and I had certain things to clarify with him and the management regarding the problems discovered. To clarify all problems that have appeared in the mass media, I also intend to dispatch the Audit Body to carry out a wider control at ROMATSA. I believe the previous Government should have taken care of this problem instead of the problem reaching this point.”
Pentecost holiday affected by air traffic controllers’ strike
The air traffic controllers’ strike will affect those who booked flights on the Pentecost holiday but also tourism agencies, National Association of Tourism Agencies (ANAT) President Alin Burcea told MEDIAFAX. He claims all charter flights are cancelled on Tuesday.
ANAT President Alin Burcea: All charter flights are cancelled on Tuesday
“It’s irresponsible, it’s contempt toward Romanians. The Pentecost holiday is before us. The strike affects both those who are set to leave on vacation but also tourism agencies. For example, we will find out only tomorrow morning which flights will take off, because only a third of the flights will take off. What is certain is that all charter flights are cancelled tomorrow. It’s a tense situation. Personally, I believe ROMATSA should be switched to a military regimen because military men can’t go on strike,” National Association of Tourism Agencies (ANAT) President Alin Burcea stated for MEDIAFAX on Monday.
He pointed out that the flights cancelled on Tuesday will be rescheduled.
Dozens of flights affected by strike; Blue Air delays 3 flights and Ryan Air cancels 5 flights
Air traffic controllers’ general strike is to affect on Tuesday dozens of scheduled flights on the “Henri Coanda” International Airport.
The strike started at 09:00 hrs, on the website of the National Company Bucharest Airports a number of five flights of the Ryan Air company were canceled, to and from Rome and Berlin, and one from Timisoara, but there weren’t any mentions whether these cancellations were connected to the strike of air traffic controllers.
The Blue Air company writes on its Facebook page that so far three flights have been affected, namely Rome – Bucharest, Hamburg – Bucharest and Florence – Bucharest.
Daily, on the “Henri Coanda” International Airport an average of 320 flights are recorded.