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

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Boeing767copilot
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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by Boeing767copilot » 22 Apr 2019, 12:24

Phoenixx and SR20, one more question:

It appears that last week there was a proposal on the table from the social mediator where management agreed to introduce a 32-hour working week instead of the current 35-hour week.

But I heard that the trade unions have rejected this because management only wanted to admit on the condition that a time registration of the exact hours worked would be introduced.

That also happens in most other companies. Why is this not accepted?

Thanks for your answer

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

Post by Phoenixx » 22 Apr 2019, 13:32

SR20 wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 10:03
Phoenix will probably complete my answer ;)
This explanation is perfect and there is only one small addition I would like to make.

Since all 5 the towers had a staff shortage (to a different degree ofcourse), trainees were being sent to all 5 towers simultaneously, and apart from EBLG and EBCI, the issue is solved. (These two are still understaffed, but they are managing thanks to the atcos doing what it takes).
This means that trainees were able to do the on the job training in a parallel manner, minimum 2 at any time per tower, maximum 4 (In Brussels), effectively training 12 people on the job simultaneously per +- 9 months.
Ofcourse the passing rate is not 100%, it's variable between 70-80 percent in total, with a 50-60% in some units, hereby releasing around 8-9 people over 5 units per 9 months.
There is a constant group of people waiting to start their on the job training now as soon as the previous ones stop.
Also in the towers, not many people have retired either since the start of trainings, so the new atcos are an actual plus to the staffing and not replacements.

For canac, we have a different issue:
- Because these are only 3 units, there is a maximum of between 6-9 atcos training simultaneously on the job. The pass rate will probably be around 80 percent too, hereby adding only +- 5-6 Atcos per 9 months (to the 3 units combineert). Due to the increase in traffic in summer, management has decided to take a 3 month break in on the job training from June to Augustus (to avoid new trainees are instantly drowning in work), hereby increasing the length of training to 12 months.
- During these 12 months of training, an equal or greater number will retire from the job due to age than they manage to succesfully train to aps/acc controller. Making these atcos replacements instead of additions to the staffing, not solving the staffshortage at all.
-
- There is no faster way to introduce new air traffic controllers, despite what management might claim. Canac has a lower training capacity than the towers combined.
- This situation is foreseen to continue for 3-5 more years, where the absolute numbers in canac staff will barely increase, despite constant training.
- at the start of these 12 months, there is simulator training. This requires instructors who hold a valid license for the specific unit, thereby taking out of canac and using them for non-ops, decreasing the number of available Atcos.


Regarding the absolute sick numbers, skeyes averaged out on just over 2 days per 3 months, while the Atcos are around 1.5 for these same 3 months. This does not take into consideration any long term illness.
We hope management will publish these numbers soon as they are connected to an internal company goal, but we fear they will not as it conflicts with their stories again.

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

Post by Phoenixx » 22 Apr 2019, 13:37

Boeing767copilot wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 12:24
Phoenixx and SR20, one more question:

It appears that last week there was a proposal on the table from the social mediator where management agreed to introduce a 32-hour working week instead of the current 35-hour week.

But I heard that the trade unions have rejected this because management only wanted to admit on the condition that a time registration of the exact hours worked would be introduced.

That also happens in most other companies. Why is this not accepted?

Thanks for your answer
While the negotiations are strictly classified and the stories that do come out strongly vary with the source, what I have heard is that this 32 hour week was offered as one of more temporary measures for April to create a temporary solution while negotiations are ongoing. This specific offer also included their version of the night shift hours and once again did not solve any issue (32h/week was not sufficient to achieve their required staffing) as it did not limit airspace capacity, simply demanding more from atcos.
This is what I have heard, nobody can confirm or deny this except the ones at the negotiations table.

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

Post by mvg » 22 Apr 2019, 14:24

Boeing767copilot wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 12:24
Phoenixx and SR20, one more question:

It appears that last week there was a proposal on the table from the social mediator where management agreed to introduce a 32-hour working week instead of the current 35-hour week.

But I heard that the trade unions have rejected this because management only wanted to admit on the condition that a time registration of the exact hours worked would be introduced.

That also happens in most other companies. Why is this not accepted?

Thanks for your answer
Hi B767copilot,

Imagine that you have to work 5 days per week and 7 hours per day, so 35 hours per week. Almost each day you are able to leave 1 hour early (no control on your hours) and it’s counted as working time but you are not at work anymore. So you work 30 hours but you are paid 35.
Would you accept such proposal?
Management has been trying for years to stop those early leaves but they know that if they put “prikkloks/pointeuses” they will be facing a strike immediately. Here they are just trying in another way to avoid having to pay the hours that are not worked.
It will never be accepted without compensation because it’s part of the “package” that Atcos have been getting for years.

Boeing767copilot
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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by Boeing767copilot » 22 Apr 2019, 14:46

mvg wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 14:24
Boeing767copilot wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 12:24
Phoenixx and SR20, one more question:

It appears that last week there was a proposal on the table from the social mediator where management agreed to introduce a 32-hour working week instead of the current 35-hour week.

But I heard that the trade unions have rejected this because management only wanted to admit on the condition that a time registration of the exact hours worked would be introduced.

That also happens in most other companies. Why is this not accepted?

Thanks for your answer
Hi B767copilot,

Imagine that you have to work 5 days per week and 7 hours per day, so 35 hours per week. Almost each day you are able to leave 1 hour early (no control on your hours) and it’s counted as working time but you are not at work anymore. So you work 30 hours but you are paid 35.
Would you accept such proposal?
Management has been trying for years to stop those early leaves but they know that if they put “prikkloks/pointeuses” they will be facing a strike immediately. Here they are just trying in another way to avoid having to pay the hours that are not worked.
It will never be accepted without compensation because it’s part of the “package” that Atcos have been getting for years.
That is clear to me now. Can Phoenixx and other atco’s confirm this?

It is gradually becoming clear to me how many benefits the atco’s have.
They don't want anything to change. They are the boss. And the boss must do what they want. And the passenger must bear the consequences.

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

Post by mvg » 22 Apr 2019, 14:51

Hi Phoenixx,

About what you mentioned about the training I would like to mention a few things:
- it doesn’t take (or at least it should not) take 9 months to train an Atco on the job in Canac. For an ab-initio, yes, but not for an Atco who has worked Tower before and is already used to working.
Training on west sectors means training on one, maximum two positions (sectors are 99% of the time collapsed). If training takes 9 months, that is around 150 days (taking some leave into account). If you train 4 hours per day that is 600 hours of training 🙄 for two sectors! That is way too much in my opinion... I’d rather say that training takes max 6 months.
That being said, it should also be possible to train more people at the same time. 2 per shift on east, two on west and two for approach is realistic. One works one hour and the second one the other hour and it goes on like that for the day. That’s already 12 Atcos training at the same time in CANAC. And that doesn’t take the nights into account where a few could train too.
12 Atcos every 6 months, take 9 that pass, that’s 18 per year (and it could be more if you roster them correctly using weekends and nights).
Of course this means a lot of trainees and training, and efforts for the OJT-Is but that’s a solution without penalizing anyone. Atcos will still have time to work by themselves if you allocate 2 OJT-Is per trainee.
Towers are all totally full (people are losing hours) except in Liege, so it’s possible to send Atcos to training. It would also be easy to train Ab-Initios straight to radar. I know we already talked about all this and remember your arguments.
But at some point you will have to make concessions and accept that rules like seniority only make the situation worse. That’s unacceptable. If you accept the rule that the best fit person gets the job, you will have a company that runs much better! And if you are good, which I know you are, you don’t have to be scared because you will have opportunities.

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

Post by mvg » 22 Apr 2019, 15:01

Boeing767copilot wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 14:46
mvg wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 14:24
Boeing767copilot wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 12:24
Phoenixx and SR20, one more question:

It appears that last week there was a proposal on the table from the social mediator where management agreed to introduce a 32-hour working week instead of the current 35-hour week.

But I heard that the trade unions have rejected this because management only wanted to admit on the condition that a time registration of the exact hours worked would be introduced.

That also happens in most other companies. Why is this not accepted?

Thanks for your answer
Hi B767copilot,

Imagine that you have to work 5 days per week and 7 hours per day, so 35 hours per week. Almost each day you are able to leave 1 hour early (no control on your hours) and it’s counted as working time but you are not at work anymore. So you work 30 hours but you are paid 35.
Would you accept such proposal?
Management has been trying for years to stop those early leaves but they know that if they put “prikkloks/pointeuses” they will be facing a strike immediately. Here they are just trying in another way to avoid having to pay the hours that are not worked.
It will never be accepted without compensation because it’s part of the “package” that Atcos have been getting for years.
That is clear to me now. Can Phoenixx and other atco’s confirm this?

It is gradually becoming clear to me how many benefits the atco’s have.
They don't want anything to change. They are the boss. And the boss must do what they want. And the passenger must bear the consequences.
For once I won’t be that negative about Atcos: I would say that they have a very good package (not working their hours, roster at their discretion, nights that count for two days and so on and so on).
We would not have talked about all this if there had not been so much damage to passengers, airlines and companies.
I am only mentioning what is happening so that everyone can have an idea about what an Atco’s professional life is. They have been working too much for years, that’s for sure and that’s not normal. Management isn’t doing well at all. But they aren’t like they are describing themselves either. With such conditions you make efforts (to a certain extend) and you accept solutions that do not suit you completely (like the seniority rule being banned).
On the other hand, management has to accept that some reasonable restrictions are put on the traffic when there is less staff.
After all management is managing and controllers are controlling. The problem is that controllers think that they would be good managers... We see what happened because of the seniority rule: former controllers are in the management and it’s a mess... The CEO is of course part of the problem but it seems that none of the former controllers has had the power to explain him enough how things are... why? Because they are not managers but controllers. You don’t become a manager without proper training and not everyone is able to do such a job.

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

Post by mvg » 22 Apr 2019, 15:17

Boeing767copilot wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 14:46
mvg wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 14:24
Boeing767copilot wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 12:24
Phoenixx and SR20, one more question:

It appears that last week there was a proposal on the table from the social mediator where management agreed to introduce a 32-hour working week instead of the current 35-hour week.

But I heard that the trade unions have rejected this because management only wanted to admit on the condition that a time registration of the exact hours worked would be introduced.

That also happens in most other companies. Why is this not accepted?

Thanks for your answer
Hi B767copilot,

Imagine that you have to work 5 days per week and 7 hours per day, so 35 hours per week. Almost each day you are able to leave 1 hour early (no control on your hours) and it’s counted as working time but you are not at work anymore. So you work 30 hours but you are paid 35.
Would you accept such proposal?
Management has been trying for years to stop those early leaves but they know that if they put “prikkloks/pointeuses” they will be facing a strike immediately. Here they are just trying in another way to avoid having to pay the hours that are not worked.
It will never be accepted without compensation because it’s part of the “package” that Atcos have been getting for years.
That is clear to me now. Can Phoenixx and other atco’s confirm this?

It is gradually becoming clear to me how many benefits the atco’s have.
They don't want anything to change. They are the boss. And the boss must do what they want. And the passenger must bear the consequences.
You are asking someone (not pointing at Phoenixx at all) who doesn’t respect the rules to admit it on a forum... That would be like committing suicide...
They won’t do it and if you and me were them we wouldn’t do it either.
If you really want to check if it’s true, there are ways to do so for anyone who isn’t an Atco. But that’s gonna be via PM only and let’s wait first if there is an answer...

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

Post by convair » 22 Apr 2019, 18:06

Looking at this from the outside, it seems more obvious every day that Belgocontrol is a circus where there is no discipline and everyone is playing games.
Working 35 hours is already a privilege (maybe justified by the job), but working 30 hours and be paid 35 is stealing the company and its shareholders, of which we belgians are indirectly part of.
Strike for strike, the management shoud install these time clocks asap and make sure everyone uses them correctly. How come that in such a sensitive activity as air traffic control the management cannot know for sure who is present and who isn't?
The employees are sitting on their rights and privileges of other times; in all types of activities, people have been required to increase their productivity.
A European air traffic control system should be put in place asap, and with strict rules, in order to get rid of that nuisance (I mean management AND employees).

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

Post by jan_olieslagers » 22 Apr 2019, 18:21

How come that in such a sensitive activity as air traffic control the management cannot know for sure who is present and who isn't?
They can, or at least they could. Access control is rather strict in Steenokkerzeel, as it should be, everybody needs to "badge" to enter and to leave. It doesn't take a lot of programming to deduce from the badge readers' logging an overview of people on or off premises, for the present or for any earlier date/time. But perhaps, such programming might be forbidden by some anachronist laws.
The employees are sitting on their rights and privileges of other times; in all types of activities, people have been required to increase their productivity.
Yes.
A European air traffic control system should be put in place asap, and with strict rules, in order to get rid of that nuisance (I mean management AND employees).
At the contrary, competition between ATC services and the companies that offer them ought to be encouraged. I do not like the "race to the bottom" a la Ryanair et al but in this particular case it seems to be asked for, almost on bended knees.

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

Post by mvg » 22 Apr 2019, 18:53

jan_olieslagers wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 18:21
How come that in such a sensitive activity as air traffic control the management cannot know for sure who is present and who isn't?
They can, or at least they could. Access control is rather strict in Steenokkerzeel, as it should be, everybody needs to "badge" to enter and to leave. It doesn't take a lot of programming to deduce from the badge readers' logging an overview of people on or off premises, for the present or for any earlier date/time. But perhaps, such programming might be forbidden by some anachronist laws.
The badge system exists and the program to log the hours too BUT it is only used to count the hours of the administrative employees. It does not apply to controllers ;) (they would go crazy) but of course, management has all the data about all the employees who enter and exit the site in Steenokkerzeel.
They also have the details of each entry/exit in each building as there is a badge reader at each door (necessary to open it).

There is also a login system on each working position for licensing/currency purposes (a minimum of hours is required per position per certain period). Each controller can see how many hours he/she has effectively worked over the last months/year. It would be very interesting and it would put an end to a big part of this debate if an Atco would show how many hours he has effectively worked over the last year. I still bet on 3 to 4 hours per shift (nights included)...
Last edited by mvg on 22 Apr 2019, 19:01, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by jan_olieslagers » 22 Apr 2019, 18:57

(they would just go crazy)
Some might say they have ... for quite a while now ...

Others might say it could take less outrage to make highly-qualified staff go crazy...
Last edited by jan_olieslagers on 22 Apr 2019, 19:01, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by convair » 22 Apr 2019, 19:30

jan_olieslagers wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 18:21
A European air traffic control system should be put in place asap, and with strict rules, in order to get rid of that nuisance (I mean management AND employees).
At the contrary, competition between ATC services and the companies that offer them ought to be encouraged. I do not like the "race to the bottom" a la Ryanair et al but in this particular case it seems to be asked for, almost on bended knees.
Maybe this service should indeed be fully privatized and open to competitive bidding, but I don't see this happening in our belgian paradise of civil servants.

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

Post by Poiu » 22 Apr 2019, 19:53

mvg wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 18:53

There is also a login system on each working position for licensing/currency purposes (a minimum of hours is required per position per certain period). Each controller can see how many hours he/she has effectively worked over the last months/year. It would be very interesting and it would put an end to a big part of this debate if an Atco would show how many hours he has effectively worked over the last year. I still bet on 3 to 4 hours per shift (nights included)...
I do hope they don’t work moer than 4 hours per shift, 1 hour on, 1 hour off is a minimum.
Do you suggest ATCOs should do 15 hour shifts in order to reach 8 hours in front of the screen?
Are the people at delivery ATCOs? That is a job which could easily be done by a trainee with a radio licence whilst waiting for further training.
Offering (part time) tower positions at the more quiet airports to newly retired ATCOs could free up some staff as well.

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

Post by mvg » 22 Apr 2019, 20:16

Poiu wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 19:53
mvg wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 18:53

There is also a login system on each working position for licensing/currency purposes (a minimum of hours is required per position per certain period). Each controller can see how many hours he/she has effectively worked over the last months/year. It would be very interesting and it would put an end to a big part of this debate if an Atco would show how many hours he has effectively worked over the last year. I still bet on 3 to 4 hours per shift (nights included)...
I do hope they don’t work moer than 4 hours per shift, 1 hour on, 1 hour off is a minimum.
Do you suggest ATCOs should do 15 hour shifts in order to reach 8 hours in front of the screen?
Are the people at delivery ATCOs? That is a job which could easily be done by a trainee with a radio licence whilst waiting for further training.
Offering (part time) tower positions at the more quiet airports to newly retired ATCOs could free up some staff as well.
Extract from ICAO guidelines to reduce fatigue in operational environment:

The ratio of duty periods to breaks.
Breaks within a duty period should be planned according to workload, complexity of ATC provision, time of the day, type of rostering system.

The minimum duration of a break should be 30 minutes.

Maximum time providing ATC service without breaks:

The maximum time providing ATC service should be 2 hours for personnel providing ATC service working with visual terminals and/or radar displays. Intervals can be reviewed periodically or when an increase in traffic load was experienced.
ATSUs experiencing low traffic loads for prolonged periods of time may extend shift sessions to 3 hours.


Following ICAO guidelines, for a 7 hours shift, Atcos could work 2 hours, then have 30 minutes break, then work another 2 hours, take 30 minutes break, and finish by 2 hours of work.
That would mean 6 hours of work... That's a lot of course but foreign ATC providers make their Atcos work between 5h30 and 6 hours per shift (shifts usually last 8 hours).
Do not misunderstand: sitting as a planner next to an executive controller IS counted as work, being stand-by for a sector that might open IS counted as work. Working in ATC does not mean working high traffic (peak) constantly. Over a morning shift of 7 hours, peak periods last less than 2 hours in Brussels... O minute of peak in some airports...
During some shifts, depending on the rotation, it is perfectly possible not to work any peak period.
If you have been in an ops-room, you know what that means...

In the past, some people were working two shifts in a row (some even 3) with more traffic than now: how do you explain that they couldn't work one shift normally anymore now? Some years ago they were working (unofficially) 2 or 3 shifts in a row (3 shifts = 24 hours!)

Boeing767copilot
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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by Boeing767copilot » 22 Apr 2019, 20:38

Has anyone noticed that the Belgian airspace remains open for three consecutive nights. An extra reimbursement for those who are working on Sunday and public holiday (Easter)?

I also notice that it is very quiet at the moment with our friends atco's on this forum.

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

Post by Poiu » 22 Apr 2019, 20:41

Boeing767copilot wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 20:38
Has anyone noticed that the Belgian airspace remains open for three consecutive nights.

I also notice that it is very quiet at the moment with our friends atco's on this forum.
Well if they are working, they can’t be here! (I hope!)

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

Post by mvg » 22 Apr 2019, 20:45

A night from Saturday to Sunday and one from Sunday to Easter Monday (considered as a Sunday as it is a bank holiday) are the best paid shifts... Just saying :)

Let’s hope they find solutions anyway. But with the same management and the same controllers, if the people are not changed, it’s just postponing the troubles...

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

Post by sn26567 » 22 Apr 2019, 22:41

Just one smile in this most serious topic:

Image

- And... what are you doing in life?
- Air traffic controller. But now, I am sick. It's very hard!
André
ex Sabena #26567

SR20
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Re: Social actions at air traffic control service skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by SR20 » 22 Apr 2019, 22:52

Boeing767copilot wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 20:38
Has anyone noticed that the Belgian airspace remains open for three consecutive nights. An extra reimbursement for those who are working on Sunday and public holiday (Easter)?

I also notice that it is very quiet at the moment with our friends atco's on this forum.
Correct me if I'm wrong but there has been an airspace closure the night from saturday till sunday !
Capture+_2019-04-20-22-55-28.png

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