The Dutch-speaking Brussels Labour Court ruled in the action brought by a few air traffic controllers from skeyes regarding the so-called ’10 = 14’ provision. According to this provision, which dates from 1987, air traffic controllers were granted 4 hours of compensation for 10-hour night service. The applicants considered that these 4 hours should also be considered as hours worked. They were asking for back wages.
The court did not follow this reasoning. It considered that it was not at all apparent from the 1987 agreement relating to this provision that the 10 hours of night service should be assimilated to 14 hours of actual work. It also found that skeyes correctly applied the regulations.
The ’10 = 14′ provision has affected the functioning of Belgocontrol / skeyes for years. It was one of the most important points of discussion in social dialogue in early 2019 and even triggered social actions among the air traffic controllers, who repeatedly imposed the closure of the airspace. At the request of the unions, conciliators were then called in to clarify this point, but these attempts also did not lead to solutions. In the end, two social agreements were signed on March 22 and May 10.
In September 2019, a third social agreement was agreed on a new planning mechanism which, in any event, puts an endpoint to the “10 = 14” provision. A night premium now replaces it, with an unequivocal payment.
By this new system:
- skeyes respects social legislation;
- skeyes meets European requirements for fatigue management, which will come into force in 2020;
- air traffic controllers keep enough flexibility to complete their schedules;
- air traffic controllers know in advance when they are working or not;
- maximum 6 successive shifts can be planned;
- work is distributed fairly among all air traffic controllers.
Therefore, with the introduction of this new system and the court ruling, the so-called “10 = 14” provision is now a thing of the past.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019