Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

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KriVa
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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by KriVa » 13 May 2019, 11:53

So 25% of your employees is a tiny minority? In that case every group of employees is a tiny minority for whom the rules shouldn’t necessarily be followed, as longs as it benefits the end result. 25% is not tiny, nor is it a minority. It’s not “25% against the rest”, it’s 25% of the total employee count.
On top of that, this proposal was only relevant for ATCOs, do you really think the union with hardly any ATCOs amongst its members, and of those none of them agreed with the proposal, should ethically vote yes when the other unions representing the vast majority of ATCOs vote no?
I get your point, and it would certainly be valid we’re this a proposal for other employees than only the ATCOs. But it wasn’t, so ACOD should have just kept their decision for themselves. Keep in mind I’m not talking about the legality of it all, that part has been covered, I’m talking about the ethics.
And to be fair... yes, we do know better what fatigue does to our bodies than somebody who has never held a microphone in their lives. We do know better what it feels like to be in a shift pattern where 10-11-12 days in a row is rather rule than exception. We do know what it feels like to be short staffed by 25%. Some other people only see the effect of that in numbers at the end of the month, but don’t have to live through it.

And some of the tricks you’re talking about can hardly be called borderline...
Thomas

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by mvg » 13 May 2019, 12:46

That’s where things have to change: if you want to have something to say even though you only represent a quarter of the employees, then feel free to create your own company, independent from the State with all it means.
“Something to say” means in Skeyes, according to the way it is functioning, having 2/3 of the votes in a paritair comité. And Atcos didn’t have it. Management did.

Yes that decision was about changes concerning Atcos. When management made hard decisions downgrading conditions in other services of the company, where were the Atcos ? Where was their ethic?
These are the rules, there is no ethic in such rules, like in many other sectors. There is a management and there are workers. One side manages and the other one works.
Many of us know what working hard is. The decisions are made to hopefully give you a better future and better rosters. Why don’t you give them a chance? Your conditions are just brilliant (discussed a lot before), you work max 4 hours per shift, there is little traffic compared to many places in Europe: when will this end? When will airlines and passengers finally get a continuous service which they pay (a lot) for?

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by KriVa » 13 May 2019, 13:19

I’m sorry mvg, but you obviously don’t know what our job entails. Having 10,15 or 20 aircraft on frequency is not tiring, it’s demanding, you thrive from it. The tiring, fatiguing part is having only two aircraft on frequency still light years away from each other. We’ve gone through the amount of hours we work per shift before, they’re not significantly different from other comparable ANSPs, nor are we working less than industry standard, on the contrary.
Airlines and passengers got that continuous service you’re talking about for the better part of five years, while pretty much every sector was understaffed. Hardly any flight were impacted while multiple sectors went from understaffing to seven understaffing. ATCOs decided to play ball and show some flexibility, a lot of it even, and gave those new “solutions” a chance. Guess what? Nothing changed.
And now you’d like us to lie down and just Suck up the ounces again? Will it really take two aircraft getting perilously close to each other, or even hitting each other, before some people realise that the limit has been reached?
Thomas

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by mvg » 13 May 2019, 13:59

Dear Kriva,
Anyone who follows this thread will make his opinion about if I know your job or not 🙄

By the way, no controller has ever had 20 planes at the same time on the frequency. Never! And certainly not in Belgium! Even 15 would not happen! (Talking about aircraft flying (not at their parking stand) and in contact on a single frequency). Give us ONE example of a day/hour with such an amount of traffic and I’ll say you are right about my knowledge of your job.

About the hours worked per shift, we have gone through it indeed and I hope you asked your colleagues from other countries. None of them works so little.
But let’s make a small calculation to make it understandable by everyone: ACC west in CANAC stays on a single sector 24/24 (confirmed before by an Atco here). One sector means two Atcos working (one talking and a planner): how many Atcos are present per shift for West on a morning during the week?
If they are 4, two work an hour and the other two the following hour, and so on. Shifts lasts for 6 hours as the afternoons are coming at 14.00. So that means 3 hours per controller per shift.
Out of those 3 hours, one Atcos is talking (on the frequency) during two hours + 1 hour planner and the other one is ONE hour on the frequency + two as planner. Did you say stressful?
If they are more than 4 per shift, it’s even less.
So what’s your answer? How many per shift? Then we can count...

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by Phoenixx » 13 May 2019, 14:17

Hi mvg,

We disagree completely on the subject and we are starting to talk about different things, so to keep this thread on topic I Will stop answering to this part after this comment.
2/3 of the votes does not mean half from management and half from unions, 2/3 of the votes means all of management (3/4) and 1/4 of unions. In no way was there an employee majority (like you claim) agreeing on this offer, not in union count, not in representation count, not in absolute staffing count, in no way whatsoever.

Airlines and passengers will get the service they pay for when there is the correct and responsible amount of staff for the maximum traffic they would like to have flying around. It's that simple.

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by mvg » 13 May 2019, 14:28

Hi Phoenixx,

No worries.

And there is no misunderstanding.
2/3 of the (12) votes are necessary for a new rule to be implemented.
Half of the votes coming from the management (6 votes) and half from the unions (6 votes being 3 for ACV, 2 for ACOD and one for VSOA).

There was a majority (2/3 (or 8 votes out of 12) as necessary) in the paritair comité who agreed, that majority being made of 6 votes from management and 2 from ACOD. That’s how a paritair comité in Skeyes has been defined. The rest is just comment, wishes or whatever, but it’s not how it works...

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by KriVa » 13 May 2019, 15:07

So you’re discounting the approach frequency then? 15 aircraft, though not often, does happen there.
And I wouldn’t exactly call ground or tower control calm. It’s a different way of working, sure, but that in itself doesn’t make it any less demanding or complex.
I did not say you haven’t got a clue about the job, you’ve far beyond proven that you do. I said you don’t seem to know, or care about, what the job actually entails, there’s quite a big difference there.
You discount moments of low traffic as being easy, nothing to worry about. Big mistakes hardly ever happen during the busy hours on a frequency, and almost always when an ATCO is only talking to two, maximum three aircraft.(in general, this is not only true for Belgium.)
Do you see why “low traffic” actually doesn’t really disqualify or qualify anything in terms of being fatiguing?
On top of that, even though we may not have the busiest airspace in the world, by far, Belgian airspace is not to be underestimated in terms of complexity. That, again, doesn’t qualify or disqualify a specific sector for being tiring, but it all adds up.

On working hours: on a day of 7 hours available on sector, I guess I work about 4,5 hours, depending on whether training is going on. Again, not too different from other ANSPs. A lot depends on traffic and seasons as well. Some days are busier than others, on some days sectors remain decollapsed for longer than others, and extra people may be necessary for other reasons (WX, emergency traffic,...). Something that’s also taken into account for staffing purposes.

As a final note, let me ask you this: do you work in shift patterns? Do you know what fatigue does to the human body in the long run? I’m not talking about working shifts for a few weeks, I’m talking about what it does to you over a period of years. That’s the entire issue where people are disgruntled now. There’s nothing wrong with “going the extra mile” for a few weeks, or even months, but when rosters are this relentless and fatiguing for months and years on end, that’s when safety starts to take a hit, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid now.
That’s also why pretty much all ATCOs are furious that none of the 27 demands laid out have even been acknowledged, let alone addressed.
Thomas

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by convair » 13 May 2019, 15:33

I disapprove of any abuse of the system, be it by the atcos or by the management. However, if some of the atcos consider that skeyes' procedures (even those decided by a "paritair" committee) contravene with the EU regulations, they have every right (obligation maybe) to fight them imho.

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by mvg » 13 May 2019, 16:04

@Kriva

About those 15 planes at the same time on the frequency at Brussels Approach: if that happens and the final (second arrival sector) isn’t open to split the traffic on two frequencies, then it’s a professional mistake. So no, I do not believe it happens, sorry. Far from it!

You are right to say that the less busy hours are those when it is more likely to have conflicts. But when it’s less busy on a sector, you don’t put extra people either. So that means that if it’s less busy (for example at ACC), sectors can be closed and people have more break: that’s good!

You say you work 4.5 hours on a 7 hours shift. I don’t know in which unit you work (and feel free to keep it for yourself) but the question I asked was about ACC west (as an example). One sector - two controllers at a time for a morning shift: how many are they to cover that morning shift? Then we can easily count if they work 4.5 hours out of 7.
There are of course, as you mention, exceptional circumstances like bad weather, emergencies and so on. But what your management has noticed, if we take that example of ACC west sector again is that 99,99% of the time it is always collapsed onto 1 sector (3 sectors on 1). So why would they roster personnel for more than one sector if it is never open? That is using the resources where and when they are needed. I find it good management.
As far as the communication is concerned and breaking the rules, it is of course not a good way to manage.

But in general, and I think it’s where controllers are wrong, there is a system with its advantages and disadvantages. We have been talking through it a lot. When that system puts Atcos into a position which they don’t like, they are protesting. When other employees from the company are faced with similar changes, not a single Atco is doing anything. Example: meteo was drastically rationalized: have you heard one Atco wanting to strike to defend them? Like you, they couldn’t say much because they were not represented like they wished. That’s how a paritair comité works! And all the other services have gone through the same reforms as you and they survived.

What I mean is that Atcos have a power like no other service in Skeyes. Who cares if Met officers start to strike?
That will be annoying but it won’t stop the traffic. Atcos have the power to annoy thousands of people as soon as they disagree. Even for things that normal people would not even dare to think of. That has to stop. There are conditions on the table set up by the management: work them or find another job please. Hundreds of able people are ready to accept such conditions. Private foreign companies are ready to step in. No problem.

Finally about your last paragraph and the personal questions, the answers are yes, I know what it is all about. Probably more than many of the Atcos who are complaining.

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by Phoenixx » 14 May 2019, 00:08

mvg wrote:
13 May 2019, 16:04
But in general, and I think it’s where controllers are wrong, there is a system with its advantages and disadvantages. We have been talking through it a lot. When that system puts Atcos into a position which they don’t like, they are protesting. When other employees from the company are faced with similar changes, not a single Atco is doing anything. Example: meteo was drastically rationalized: have you heard one Atco wanting to strike to defend them? Like you, they couldn’t say much because they were not represented like they wished. That’s how a paritair comité works! And all the other services have gone through the same reforms as you and they survived.

What I mean is that Atcos have a power like no other service in Skeyes. Who cares if Met officers start to strike?
That will be annoying but it won’t stop the traffic. Atcos have the power to annoy thousands of people as soon as they disagree. Even for things that normal people would not even dare to think of. That has to stop. There are conditions on the table set up by the management: work them or find another job please. Hundreds of able people are ready to accept such conditions. Private foreign companies are ready to step in. No problem.
What bothers me about your logic is the way you defend the system at skeyes, but you forget évery group of staff is a minority by itself.
The way a paritair comité should work is that unions are expected to stand WITH the employees and to not accept an offer as it is when that means screwing one group over, that should be their job.

You seem to forget by the way, the whole reason management was able to do this, is because we 'joined forces' with the meteo and technicians, so your statement is very debatable.
ACOD sold us off in return for their bonuses and improved conditions.
And even though it is not the fault of the men and women of the meteo or the technical department at all, I can say I very much regret this, and many atcos with me.

I often hear "that's what you signed up for, if you don't like it, leave"
But that's the whole point, this is not what we signed up for.
This is a one sided change of working conditions.
This is exactly why there is so much outrage.
Do you honestly believe management should be able to do whatever they want and be able to change whatever they want as it pleases them? They have a word for that last time I checked, that would be a dictatorship.

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by mvg » 14 May 2019, 06:01

Hi Phoenixx,

It's not about defending the system at Skeyes. In every company there has to be a "system" to make it work.
By the way, that "system" was put in place in 1998: most probably before you joined the company so it's nothing new! It is very similar to how other companies are working and nowhere are minorities represented like the controllers would like them to be!
Therefore you would need to create your own company with only Atcos and the other services from Skeyes would have to do the same. Imagine the mess... And think of all the rights you would lose if you are not State employee anymore.
You work for a company with lots of politics involved, lots of deals under the table and people selling agreements for their own little profit (including controllers who are certainly not the less selfish).
Didn't you and your colleagues check that before applying there?
That does not mean of course that it is good. But those tricks are used by all parties (including unions) when it suits them best. It's the game! Typical game in our country, isn't it?

In this case it may look like a one sided change of working conditions and in your case I wouldn't probably be happy either. But these are the rules and for example when a pilot isn't happy about his working conditions and nothing can be done about it, he just has the courage to find a job somewhere else. Atcos from Skeyes don't have that courage or they don't want to because they won't find better conditions anywhere else! So they keep on complaining and consequently bothering thousands of people. This is the problem!

People do not care about your little stories. And please let's stop putting safety in the conversation each time. There is no problem. There have been incidents in the past and there will be incidents again, no matter what is changed to your conditions. The results from the last two years are just better than ever before (we can discuss the reasons). It can't be better in the next years as the (important) incidents were brought to zero... So that's not gonna be due to difficult conditions, it's just logic.

I also notice that after asking twice how many Atcos were rostered per shift for a morning at ACC (for one sector manned by two Atcos) nobody gave an answer. Is it because we could then easily see that an Atco does not work 4,5 hours per shift? Or should we say not even 3,5 hours per shift?

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by SR20 » 16 May 2019, 07:29

A1689/19
From:16 MAY 19 07:30 Till:16 MAY 19 11:00
Text:BRUSSELS ACC CLSD DUE TO INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS. EMERG FREQ ARE WATCHED

A1690/19
From:16 MAY 19 07:30 Till:16 MAY 19 11:00
Text:BRUSSELS FIC CLSD DUE TO INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS. IN CASE OF URGENCY FIS AVBL FM BRUSSELS ACC

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by TLspotting » 16 May 2019, 08:11

Already 40 flights cancelled says VRT.
I'm Thibault Lapers, spotter in Belgium for now 3 years, but not yet across the world and a huuuuuge aviation geek ! Join me on Facebook & Twitter @TLspotting

atcofl
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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by atcofl » 16 May 2019, 08:37

A meeting for CANAC atco's had been planned for 10h today. The initial email called of the COO for everyone to be there so they could explain the 'agreement'. However, 10h is a busy time to work, so a lot of people wouldn't be able to attend anyway. And even for those in break, attending isn't obvious, since you're supposed to become back refreshed from a break, not super annoyed with management.
So, unions called for everyone to attend (also from other units and other services such as technicians, meteo, administrative staff) and put down a strike notice to allow people to attend.
Yesterday, management changed their mind and decided to talk to people in small groups. We are against that, since we want to be united and all have the right to the same explanation, listening to other people's questions. So we all were going to attend at 10h.
Then, management clearly got scared and they cancelled the meeting. I don't know if they were hoping people would then just keep working, but all they're doing is making people more angry.

Great management we have, they clearly thought this trough very well...

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by luchtzak » 16 May 2019, 08:46

Google translate skeyes press release

The explanatory moments about the social agreement for key employees are no reason to interrupt the service.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The management of skeyes had invited the air traffic controllers today to explain the social agreement that was concluded last Friday 10 May. For this, they were able to stop by from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and during breaks so that everyone had the opportunity to get the necessary explanation at the most suitable time without having to interrupt the service.

When the management established that actions were being taken to affect air traffic because of these explanatory moments, they were forced to cancel the meetings.

Some further actions are considered as wildcats.

The management calls on everyone to keep calm and maintains the intention to provide air traffic controllers and all other staff members with an explanation of the social agreement.

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by mvg » 16 May 2019, 08:50

And great from the unions and the controllers: they all want/need to attend a meeting at the same time 🙄
They forgot they work in shifts and that someone has to be there 24/24. Are you serious? This is ridiculous!
Tell us that all those who were at home would have come as well 😂 No way!

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by sean1982 » 16 May 2019, 09:06

Phoenixx wrote:
13 May 2019, 14:17

Airlines and passengers will get the service they pay for when there is the correct and responsible amount of staff for the maximum traffic they would like to have flying around. It's that simple.
This is what I talked about last time When I said atco’s have lost touch with reality. Imagine you order a BBQ dish at the butchers for 20 people. You pay for it and he brings it and says: Yeah sorry, only for 14, my employees thought that they had to work to much so you’re Only getting 70% of what you paid for. How in the world does that make sense?

We dont just pay you when we buy a ticket, I pay you every month when taxes go off my wage.
Yet for months now, you have been ruining peoples holiday, ruining peoples business trips, keeping the countries airspace hostage and on top of that endangering every person in the industry their job as foreign companies dont keep accepting this.

I do not understand that No politician is seriously intervening.

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by Matt » 16 May 2019, 09:08

Look, I get why they strike today, I get why they are disgruntled. It get the why.

But the way HOW they strike now baffles me.

A spontanious action, right in the busyest period of the day, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at BRU airport, to me that is inexcusable. This way atco's just bully people who have nothing to do with the matter :!:

Holidays ruined, business trips on hold etc etc etc... People and airliners coulnd't even take precautions ( like they can with the NMBS who announce it weeks beforehand )

Sorry. The Atco's lost A LOT of respect now from me and from the public opinion.

They better watch out or they will have less jobs if people start avoiding BRU more and more and go to DUS, AMS or CDG!

#VeryDisgruntled

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by Yuqu12 » 16 May 2019, 09:14

sean1982 wrote:
16 May 2019, 09:06

I do not understand that No politician is seriously intervening.
The social mediator was appointed by minister Peeters. What else can they do more when a conflict between employer and employees isn't resolved?

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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by Matt » 16 May 2019, 09:21

Yuqu12 wrote:
16 May 2019, 09:14
sean1982 wrote:
16 May 2019, 09:06

I do not understand that No politician is seriously intervening.
The social mediator was appointed by minister Peeters. What else can they do more when a conflict between employer and employees isn't resolved?

Peeters is the equivalent of a grad student in history who doesn't understand science. He doesn't know what the hell is going on there.

He pretends like he does tough. #Tsjeef

( by which I dont want to offend history grad students, other expertise, I for one, know jack shit about history and I am an engineer. just making a point )

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