“The management wants to reach an agreement quickly,” said Skeyes this Saturday morning after the interruption of the social conciliation process within the Belgian air navigation service provider. The negotiators will meet next Friday. “Skeyes management wants to give time to all parties involved in the social dialogue to discuss, within their organisations, the proposals it has put on the table during the conciliation,” Skeyes adds in a statement.
Friday evening, the management and the unions had noted that the negotiations had blocked. The management deplored the attitude of “certain partners“, particularly ACV/CSC-Transcom, “who are not willing to compromise“.
ACV/CSC-Transcom on its side regretted that the management did not give it enough time to consult its base.
Skeyes hopes to reach an agreement on Friday, May 10, at the next meeting of the Joint Committee.
Hereunder the press release of skeyes dated Friday evening, 3 May.
After the interruption of the social conciliation process, skeyes appeals on all stakeholders to favour the public interest
Skeyes management is very aware of the impact that social tensions within the company are having on the entire airline industry in Belgium. This sector is an essential part of the Belgian economy, which, among other things, employs tens of thousands of people. The interests at stake far outweigh the sole interest of skeyes as a business and certainly that of individual employees.
Management shares the concerns of the many stakeholders and their staff – airports and airlines at first instance – as well as passengers and makes every effort to ensure continuity of service. Many additional measures have been taken to this end, including operational cooperation with German air traffic control DFS.
Social dialogue has always been a top priority for skeyes. Thus the social dialogue concerning the organisation and the work rules was launched after the strike notice of February. This led to a social agreement in the Joint Committee on 22 March 2019. In April 2016, an agreement had already been concluded within the Joint Committee guaranteeing continuity until the end of September 2019. During this period, recruitment would be made at the maximum level. In the meantime, 102 candidate air traffic controllers have been recruited, of whom 32 are on duty and 42 are in training. 28 candidates gave up. Unfortunately, the commitments made in these two agreements – which are binding on all unions – have not been respected by all employees.
On March 29, 2019, a process of social conciliation was initiated by a decision of the Minister of Labour, Economy and Consumer Protection between the management and the trade unions of skeyes in order to continue to finalise the social consultation and try to find an agreement. In the meantime, efforts have been made to continue to provide customer service.
The main request that remained in the conciliation process on the side of the employees was about the reduction of working time. The management has made several strong proposals on this subject, including a reduction in the working time from 35 to 32 hours per week for CANAC and the Brussels Airport tower and 30 hours for Liège airport, with measures of accompaniment and bonuses. All the proposals represent a cost of 7.5 million euros or 25,000 euros per year and per air traffic controller concerned. However, skeyes noted that some partners were not willing to compromise.
The CSC/ACV counterproposals provided much less than 32 hours of work per week, coupled with wage increases and higher bonuses, as well as additional restrictions on air traffic, with very serious consequences for airports, airlines and passengers. In this proposal, working arrangements are based solely on goodwill, volunteerism and financial incentives. The last few months have clearly shown that, in this way, the service could not be ensured as it should have been.
Moreover, the commitments made at the beginning of the conciliation were not respected during the negotiations.
Given the attitude of the ACV/CSC, the pursuit of conciliation was no longer meaningful.
skeyes is committed to continuing to deliver the services it deserves. It knows it is supported by the vast majority of staff members who do not wish to see the future of the business mortgaged by a few individuals and who want to act respectfully and collegially towards so many other employees of the airline community who have to fill tasks in often more difficult circumstances, as well as airports, airlines and passengers who are primarily affected by the current situation. The jobs of many employees in other companies are also at risk if this does not happen.
skeyes is ready to continue the dialogue and will in the meantime take the necessary steps to enforce the agreements and to secure services to the aviation sector. Management relies on staff members and stakeholders, including the authorities and higher trade union bodies.
Friday, May 3, 2019