Air traffic control boss to get tough on “Individuals that are holding the company hostage”

The CEO of the company responsible for air traffic control in the skies above Belgium Skeyes, Johan Decuyper has reacted to yet another week of action by air traffic controllers. Speaking on VRT television’s Sunday topical discussion programme ‘De zevende dag”, Mr. Decuyper said “Just of few members of the Belgian Air Traffic Controllers’ Guild are holding the company hostage. From Monday we are going to act against illegal absences and start up disciplinary measures”.     

Action by air traffic controllers had resulted in disruption on several occasions in recent weeks. Last week management at Skyes reached an agreement with the socialist trades union. However, this was rejected by the Christian and liberal trades unions. This means that further industrial action can’t be ruled out. 

Why is it proving so difficult to reach an agreement?

When asked why finding an agreement that is acceptable to all is proving so difficult Mr Decuyper said “We have been negotiating for a year and a half about structural reforms. It is true that we need to adapt due to liberalisation and the evolution of technology. We have balanced the books and have attracted a lot of investment. We can’t recruit any more air traffic controllers than we have now. We have enough capacity to guarantee security of service”.   

Mr Decuyper went on to say that a measures to address pressure of work were not among the demands put forward by the unions. “They main demands concerned night work and recruitment…But negotiations on structural issues are already underway”.   

"I call on the unions to respect the agreement and to help develop it further. The talks with the unions are being progressing as they should do. However, it is true that a few individual from the Belgian Air Traffic Control Guild are holding the company hostage. From Monday we will start act against them.”  

“The silent majority of air traffic controllers want to offer the same level of quality service that they always do and now I want to support them”. 

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