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

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

Post by Bracebrace »

We get our roster approx 14 days in advance, no bidding system, off days can be requested a month prior to release (but there is a lot of flexibility, probably the best in the world). I know companies where roster is published 10 days in advance and nothing is "on request". When it comes to family life, this is a damn good company I work for. It is aviation, you can't have it all. We work 7/7, 24/24.

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

Post by Phoenixx »

mvg wrote:
05 Oct 2019, 07:11
Yes I have seen the rosters: no one has 15 shifts of work over a period of 16 days, as stated in the newspaper’s article. There is a mix between the words « shifts » and « days ».
As discussed before, working two nights (TWO shifts) counts for FOUR days. An Atco cannot pretend that he/she works FOUR days if he/she goes TWO times to work...

20 violations in a month: if you consider the old rules maybe. Not saying that the new ones are great but they very much look like what is done in other companies.

A safety case for new fostering rules? That doesn’t exist... A safety case (or safety review) is necessary to implement new operational procedures. It does not exist for rostering. A fatigue survey might be more appropriate. There are companies that conduct such studies with
Management may have pushed their vision of the nightshift consisting of a single working day followed by a resting day in the new way of working, but untill that takes effect in February this is not the case. Off days are HL, C or CP on our roster.
Everything with a number has always been considered as a day of work, except under this CEO and since this staff shortage. Strange how rules and their interpretations can bend like that suddenly.
A standby is also considered as a non working day by the way, do you think that is logical too?

Those 20 violations are violations of the Belgian law.
They are in the old system and they will be in the new one, that has nothing to do with "a new rostering system".
It's just another example of our management crossing the lines to hide and 'manage' their staff shortage.
Even their own lawyers know this, but by the time this would get to court, they will have passed another 2 years, which is the only thing they care about and their only solution for the staff shortage; suck it up and buy time.

Regarding the procedures, I was not referring to the rostering, but to actual operational procedures. Figured you were doing the same in your story of the shouting controller. Obviously there is no need for a safety case there. Some common sense on fatigue management and a shred of respect for their employees' personal lives (as they claim they have in the protocol) would pull a big red stripe through this plan already though.
mvg wrote:
05 Oct 2019, 14:44
Glad that someone is talking about the working conditions at NATS. Let me share a few differences with your company:
- NATS shifts last 8 hours: no early leave. Yours last officially 7 hours and most of them last only 6 hours. Over 20 days of work (usual amount of days worked in UK in a month), they work 40 hours more each month... As days last 6 hours in your company, it is equivalent to 6 or 7 days per month and brings you to your 26-27 days every month.
You don’t work more than in NATS BUT...

- in NATS they work on a 6/4 basis (6 days on, 4 days off (3 + sleep day)): no roster request, no night request: they have to work and follow the planning as it comes. You can make requests and many of them are fulfilled. Some of you only work mostly mornings, some never work nights: this is just amazing for such a job!
Our management is declaring at every staffmeeting that a 6/3 (sleeping day+2) is the very best they can do. We should be sooo happy.
They also added that we're too short staffed for that one, so that won't quite work yet next year. Or the one after that, maybe 2023. Either way, 6/3 VS 6/4.

Regarding our request advantage.
If you like late shifts, I prefer early and buddy here wants nights and your unit needs one of each for the next 6 days, is it so difficult to imagine that each of those shifts goes to the person who prefers it over the other?
Because that's exactly what we have, and only that.
If your preference is an option, you might get it, if it's not, tough cookie.

I have no idea where you get your maths there, but a 6/4 with 8h shifts gives me 144h, 18 shifts over a 30 day period.
In skeyes, with our 5/2, 7h shifts, 35h week, our current roster is 150h over 21.4 shifts for that same period.
Even if you would take an hour off every shift (which is ridiculous reasoning, but I'll go with it for easy calculations), that gives 129 hours over 21.4 shifts.
15hours less, 3.4 shifts more.

I think I know what I prefer between working a few hours more and being off half a week extra per month or getting some early leaves and only thereby having an advantage in that part of the maths.

Now if we bring our reality in the calculation:
Apart from this summer, where management had to keep the peace at all cost, I would have to search hard for a few months where I did not have +20h of overtime per month, which is around 3 shifts. (17h in your calculation of 6h shifts)
That brings us at 146 hours (170 hours in the roster) over 24.4 shifts.
2 hours and 6.4 shifts more for skeyes controllers.

But hooray we can tell the person puzzling our roster together we would prefer those 6 shifts to be early shifts and then we can go read online about how we should feel bad for that if we get 4 of those 6 planned as early on the roster, and therefore have the luxury of preferences..?

I know this sounds very sarcastic, and I'm trying to stay 'constructive' in the dialogue, but you can not expect us to be happy just because there are others who have it 'worse' on some aspects of the job or because we have some good things that others don't have. (assuming we still have them after January)
Kids might finish their food with that trick, but they won't be happy about that empty plate because of it.
Ofcourse there are good things and bad things. And while you focus on our -supposed- advantages and benefits , we are confronted daily with the cesspool that is skeyes.
Even with our passion and enthusiasm for our job as air traffic controller as gasmask, that smell is overpowering everything.
And that shower, deodorant and little air freshener in the car your boss provided will not get the smell out of your nose anymore.

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

Post by mvg »

Dear Phoenixx,

We really appreciate your answers. They are always to the point and we can feel your passion in all of them.

My apologies for the "safety case" part: I misunderstood your statement.

For the rest of the discussion (the way management is counting the nights, the violations of the laws (I don't fully agree with you) and so on) this is exactly the point where (most of) the Atcos are wrong, according to many of us (on this forum and in the public in general).

Before this mess started, you used to have a job, let's be honest, that you could call paradise. Such conditions are not found anywhere else. They don't exist anymore in any European company (ATC or aviation or any other sector). High salary, little working hours, rostering "a la carte", little time on position, permissive sick leave policy, job guarantee in case of loss of medical, no blame culture even in case of serious incident, no measurement of your efficiency, a great retirement age and a wonderful pension, and so on.

Would you mind giving examples of similar working conditions elsewhere? Of course you can find better parts if you look at the neighboring countries. But you can't wish to have the best bits of each of them. We have to compare the full packages. And Skeyes has by far the best one if you put everything into perspective (salary - working hours - flexibility - amount of traffic - easiness of the job - pension).
By the way, over the last 6 months, there has still been several Atcos with salaries well above 10000€* after tax because of the extra hours that they had worked. Good on them. Some are very happy about it and keep on working as much as they can.
*extra hours paid every three months

This is not possible anymore in 2019 if you want a company to be profitable. In many other sectors, workers would simply be fired and a new company would provide an even better service for way less money.
Luckily for you, and unlike for pilots, it is impossible to replace an Atco by another "just like that". Not because you have a difficult job that noone else can do (not saying it's an easy job either) but only because the laws and regulations require Atcos to go through specific training that is only applicable to their work location.

That training can only be given by your company for the belgian airports and airspace. And the "on the job training" can only be given by you, the controllers already qualified on the different positions.
In other words you have the key for everything! Not because you are doing your job properly or because you are supermen, but because the rules are so strict and so silly that even the best controller of the world is not allowed to come and work in your seat if he hasn't undergone years of training. Even if he works better than all the guys in your tower and even if that training could be done in 3 days he is not allowed to replace you.
Just imagine that a controller from Heathrow is not allowed to come and work in Oostende unless he goes back to school for a few years and trains on the job (live) for month! Really??

Because of that many controllers feel powerful and do not accept any single change in their long list of advantages. But in fact they are right! Why would they give away anything? They have the key to everything! And they have been abusing it for years and years!

The problem now is that you are facing a CEO that is playing the same game to you! He is using all his tricks to screw you up. And you can't do much! Why? Because he has a huge political support, because he is stubborn and because, as you said, anything that you bring to court takes years to be treated.

So please, allow us to smile a little bit when we hear some of the things that Atcos are complaining about. But we also quickly stop smiling because it has an impact on what we are all passioned for: aviation, especially in our country.

Forgive me for being a bit sarcastic too and of course there are some things about which you are right. But let's also be realistic: it would be high time to close Skeyes, to redesign everything from A till Z and to start a new company with a new management, with those who really want to work, those who can work correctly and who can adapt to the reality of the present.
Sooner or later it will happen. It would have happened already (look at the uk) if our country wasn't so much ruled by politicians.

Let me also add a few examples of what happens in some neighboring countries regarding ATC rostering and working conditions:

- 6 days ON/ 4 days off (sleep day + 3 days off) exists in several countries BUT the duty can be changed WITHOUT the consent of the employee if the change is required by the management more than 24 hours in advance.
e.g. you have a morning according to the roster and they call you one day before that you work an afternoon. Good luck to deal with this if you have kids or planned activities.
- a stand-by shift is usually considered as a working day BUT a stand-by does not only cover a morning or an afternoon: an Atco can be called for any shift between 06.00 and 22.00.
e.g. Atcos basically stay next to their phone the whole day... Many would prefer to go to work...
- if someone has an incident, he/she is immediately suspended until the end of the investigation. If he/she is found guilty of anything, he/she has to go back to training (all of a sudden the roster is changed without anything to say) AND take a full exam (theory and practise) before being reinstated. If the same Atco makes a similar mistakes a second time within the year, if it is serious of course, he/she will possibily be fired.

Not saying that this has to be implemented at Skeyes or that you deserve such poor conditions but only showing that you are very lucky with what you have.

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

Post by Phoenixx »

mvg wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 19:59
For the rest of the discussion (the way management is counting the nights, the violations of the laws (I don't fully agree with you) and so on) this is exactly the point where (most of) the Atcos are wrong, according to many of us (on this forum and in the public in general).

Forgive me for being a bit sarcastic too and of course there are some things about which you are right. But let's also be realistic: it would be high time to close Skeyes, to redesign everything from A till Z and to start a new company with a new management, with those who really want to work, those who can work correctly and who can adapt to the reality of the present.
Sooner or later it will happen. It would have happened already (look at the uk) if our country wasn't so much ruled by politicians.

Let me also add a few examples of what happens in some neighboring countries regarding ATC rostering and working conditions:

- 6 days ON/ 4 days off (sleep day + 3 days off) exists in several countries BUT the duty can be changed WITHOUT the consent of the employee if the change is required by the management more than 24 hours in advance.
e.g. you have a morning according to the roster and they call you one day before that you work an afternoon. Good luck to deal with this if you have kids or planned activities.
- a stand-by shift is usually considered as a working day BUT a stand-by does not only cover a morning or an afternoon: an Atco can be called for any shift between 06.00 and 22.00.
e.g. Atcos basically stay next to their phone the whole day... Many would prefer to go to work...
- if someone has an incident, he/she is immediately suspended until the end of the investigation. If he/she is found guilty of anything, he/she has to go back to training (all of a sudden the roster is changed without anything to say) AND take a full exam (theory and practise) before being reinstated. If the same Atco makes a similar mistakes a second time within the year, if it is serious of course, he/she will possibily be fired.

Not saying that this has to be implemented at Skeyes or that you deserve such poor conditions but only showing that you are very lucky with what you have.
The way management vs us are counting nightshifts is indeed a topic to discuss in court. The 35h rest per week however is a different issue, the law is crystal clear on that.
It also seems quite dubious to me, that with our 'great working conditions' and 'little working time', it's still seemingly impossible to make a roster where everybody has at least 35h rest in a week? That is just 1 full day + 11 hours before and/or after.
An early shift, a day off and any shift already gives an employee more rest than this.
Any shift+ day off + late shift also does the trick.
So almost any combination of 6 working days per 7 day week is legal and still, 20 violations in one month, on 250 controllers?!

If we wouldn't protest, we would still be working 11 days in a row, one day of rest and 11 days again. Parental leave requests would still go unanswered. Procedures and protocols would be guidelines to aim for. There would be more single person ops than you would want to imagine. And so on.
We would get all the 'worst' conditions from the neighbouring countries (he has to get inspiration somewhere) and lose nearly all the ones that make working at skeyes doable.
And looking at the way this man treats his (ex-) management, I'm very glad we have this 'protection' as a state official.
Ofcourse it's not meant (and shouldn't be used) to prevent an employee from being fired no matter the circumstances. But it allows us to speak up against this ceo's way of working (or at least the bad parts of it), his absolute lack of respect for his staff and his fake attitude towards safety in favor of continuity.
It allows us to be at ease about having a job, even after filing the 20th safety report against a new horrible or irresponsible procedure in a single month/ after complaining again because everybody from management and hr is refusing to answer simple questions for months on end/ after speaking up or being critical when management is again declaring all is good and they have no idea what staff shortage we are talking about.
If that got cancelled now, he would probably start by firing 10 of us to set an example for the rest, and I'm not talking about controllers who had incidents here...This man thrives on power. He goes out of his way to get control over everything and anything. Against a man like that, his staff needs this kind of protection, even if just to maintain a priority on safety.

Believe it or not, many of us are looking forward to the day that happens to skeyes. -If they don't put the same management in charge of the new company ofcourse- But like SR20 said earlier, Dominique Leroy is available, so maybe it's a good time for that?

Regarding the conditions you end up listing. Every up comes with a down. Goes for every company and skeyes is no exception there. So like you say, it's a fight to preserve some good, because the bad is coming wether we want it or not.

They tried implying the one sided shift change in the latest protocol here as well by the way, and not even with a one day notice. Same day, any moment of the day, even on off days. Continuity over personal lives to the max. Thankfully that was avoided. Could you imagine with our staff shortage?

As long as your standby time is work time, why not?
If it counts as part of the hours you have to do, what's the difference between working and sitting at home waiting?
We get overloaded rosters and then standbys on top at the moment. They only count as working time when we're actually called in... (A little trick to consider them as off days when making the roster)
We are still asking party to imply a standby system like the one you speak of, but again: staffshortage made that impossible, we would be rostered 25/30 days and have even more overtime than we do now. Another hilarious thing: our overtime pay is cancelled from February onwards. Because they claim there will be no more overtime. We're talking about 5 months from now.

We have a protocol where that is also the case by the way (suspension to non-ops, retraining and re-examination), it simply has not been used yet, to my knowledge.

An important thing to remember is that there is simply no trust left in this CEO. While we see the (good) potential use of any proposal coming to the table, we immediately think 'whats the worst that he could do with this' / 'what would be the wordt case scenario if this is implemented'. Because that's exactly what he does with the current rules and the trust and good will he started his term with. The worst. And then some. Force them to the maximum and break them if bending was not enough. A few staffmeetings where they present themselves as the good guys who mean well, followed again by months of the opposite in reality are not going to change that.

Anyhow, I think we're in for a little 'peace' again here untill they start talking about the rest of the rostering and fatigue management. Should be soon though. Very curious and quite scared to see what they will come up with there.
Also looking forward to compare our mandatory rostering minima and maxima to those of our neighbouring countries, I doubt we'll still come out on the positive side.


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

Post by mvg »

That was quite a big win for the management of Skeyes, wasn't it?

https://www.aviation24.be/air-traffic-c ... -as-10-14/

What do controllers think about it?

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

Post by jan_olieslagers »

Far be it from me to speak in the name of anyone else, atc staff least of all; but I can see only winners here. On the short term some might seem to be loosing, but on the long term there is a gain of clarity and that means stabilty: people will be less excited, less annoyed, less stressy. Which might even help reduce the bad health reports from a few. So, for as little as I can see, this judgement is a win for all concerned. Not least from a passengers' point of view :mrgreen:

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

Post by sn26567 »

Trade union ACV/CSC-Transcom files strike notice at Air Navigation Service Provider “skeyes” against collaboration with Belgian Defence :?

https://www.aviation24.be/air-traffic-c ... n-defence/
André
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CTBke
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Re: Social actions at air navigation service provider skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by CTBke »

sn26567 wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 18:42
Trade union ACV/CSC-Transcom files strike notice at Air Navigation Service Provider “skeyes” against collaboration with Belgian Defence :?

https://www.aviation24.be/air-traffic-c ... n-defence/
Of course they have to go on strike to start off the new year ....
Citybird
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Re: Social actions at air navigation service provider skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by Boeing767copilot »

CTBke wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 22:10
sn26567 wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 18:42
Trade union ACV/CSC-Transcom files strike notice at Air Navigation Service Provider “skeyes” against collaboration with Belgian Defence :?

https://www.aviation24.be/air-traffic-c ... n-defence/
Of course they have to go on strike to start off the new year ....
And do not forget: social elections are coming this spring. Time for a trade union to profile itself.

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

Post by SR20 »

Belgian air traffic controllers threaten to strike at end of February

https://www.brusselstimes.com/all-news/ ... de-unions/

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

Post by SR20 »

After ACV, VSOA also submits a strike notice to skeyes
The liberal trade union VSOA submits a strike notice with immediate effect to air traffic controller skeyes. Earlier this month, the Christian trade union ACV did the same .

VSOA submits the notice out of dissatisfaction with the preparation of the work schedules. According to the union, this would increase workload and uncertainty. There is " a great deal of concern about the safety and well-being of staff, but also about the level of reducing the safety of operations," it says in a press release.

https://m.hln.be/geld/economie/na-acv-d ... ~a09281fa/


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sn26567
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Re: Social actions at air navigation service provider skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by sn26567 »

SR20 wrote:
10 Mar 2020, 10:29
Investigation of a suspected fraud at skeyes during an examination of air traffic controllers !

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/onde ... 74265.html

https://www.rtbf.be/info/societe/detail ... d=10452305
Will the ATCOs strike if the examination in invalidated? :mrgreen:
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Re: Social actions at air navigation service provider skeyes (Belgium) - possible air traffic disruptions

Post by SR20 »

sn26567 wrote:
10 Mar 2020, 17:38
SR20 wrote:
10 Mar 2020, 10:29
Investigation of a suspected fraud at skeyes during an examination of air traffic controllers !

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/onde ... 74265.html

https://www.rtbf.be/info/societe/detail ... d=10452305
Will the ATCOs strike if the examination in invalidated? :mrgreen:
According to the FPS Mobility, the investigation has not yet been fully completed, but the management of skeyes will take the chairman of the Guild to court.

https://m.hln.be/de-krant/skeyes-daagt- ... ~ae761142/

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

Post by mvg »

Why are we not surprised? The Management doesn't like The Guilde and The Guilde doesn't like the Management... They will use any possible reason to attack each other...

How is it going for the controllers during these difficult times?
Has there been any salary cut? Temporary unemployment?

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

Post by DIBO »

mvg wrote:
19 Apr 2020, 19:02
Has there been any salary cut?
:D :D
mvg wrote:
19 Apr 2020, 19:02
Temporary unemployment?
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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

Post by KriVa »

mvg wrote:
19 Apr 2020, 19:02
How is it going for the controllers during these difficult times?
No different than for anybody else in the same company, as far as I know? If possible, work at home.
For those who haven't taken up tasks they can perform at home, they will be coming to work less than usual, both because of reduced traffic and to keep the amount of people at the unit at the same time as low as possible, and can probably expect to perform extra hours in the future.
mvg wrote:
19 Apr 2020, 19:02
Has there been any salary cut? Temporary unemployment?
Temporary unemployment is not an option for civil servants. You've proven yourself to be very well aware of everything that's happening in the company, so you would also know that a pay cut would happen at the end of the year, the end of the reference period for ATCOs. Other employees haven't taken a pay cut so far either, as far as I know, do correct me if I'm wrong though.
Thomas

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

Post by mvg »

KriVa wrote:
19 Apr 2020, 20:50
mvg wrote:
19 Apr 2020, 19:02
Has there been any salary cut? Temporary unemployment?
Temporary unemployment is not an option for civil servants. You've proven yourself to be very well aware of everything that's happening in the company, so you would also know that a pay cut would happen at the end of the year, the end of the reference period for ATCOs. Other employees haven't taken a pay cut so far either, as far as I know, do correct me if I'm wrong though.
As far as I know, there has never been any paycuts in the company's history, and that's good for the employees.
I was asking that question because airlines are not going to pay their fees (en-route and/or airport) in the next months. The payments for the last months will also be deferred and there are (almost) no flights at the moment so (almost) no income. Consequently, the company is going to need help from the State in order to pay the salaries in a few months.
What is your opinion about that?
Have the controllers been asked to make any financial effort, like pilots (for example) have?

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

Post by SR20 »

Walloon government takes air traffic controller skeyes to court.

Charleroi Airport and the Walloon government want to enforce in court that air traffic controller skeyes guarantees the continuity of its services. During the strike wave in March 2019, the Walloon airports were hit hard. Skeyes, which as a public company has a monopoly on airspace control, insists that it is only obliged to guarantee the safety of air traffic. The Walloon government decided to join the court proceedings at Charleroi airport.

https://m.hln.be/geld/economie/waalse-r ... ~acf1cbb0/

https://www.7sur7.be/economie/le-gouver ... ~a6879a46/

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