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Irish Air Traffic Controllers to be suspended

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Irish Air Traffic Controllers to be suspended

Old 19th Jan 2010, 13:45
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Irish Air Traffic Controllers to be suspended

Statement made by the Irish Aviation Authority;

19 January 2010: The Irish Aviation Authority, (IAA) had no alternative today (Tuesday 19th January 2010) but to suspend Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) who refuse to carry out normal assigned duties until their demands have been met. Since 1st January the ATCOs union, IMPACT has instructed controllers not to co-operate with a number of new technology projects unless the Authority commits to payment for these changes. However, the real agenda is:

Forcing the immediate payment of a 6% pay increase agreed as part of the last partnership agreement - Towards 2016;
Avoiding the payment of a contribution towards their pensions in line with all other public sector staff. ATCOs pay no pension contribution and the Authority pays a contribution of 30.5% of salary.
Flights at all airports are likely to be disrupted by this dispute. The IAA apologies to all members of the travelling public and to the airlines for the disruption that this action by ATCOs will cause. Passengers are advised to contact their airline before setting out.

Pay Increase of 6%

The first issue, an increase of 6%: An increase of 6% to would cost the IAA an additional € 6 million each year. This cost would have to be passed to the airlines who fund the IAA - the Authority receives no State funding. The airlines cannot afford to pay.

"The aviation industry is on its knees at the moment," says Liam Kavanagh, Director of Human Resources, IAA. "The ailing airlines, including Aer Lingus, Cityjet, Aer Arann - cannot afford to take on additional costs. Meeting the 6% pay demand to 300 Air Traffic Controllers would cost an additional € 6 million per year. This would have to be passed on in its entirety to the airlines since we in the IAA receive no funding from Government."

The ATCOs play a vital role in the safety of air transport and are currently highly paid, according to the IAA. No pay cuts are proposed. No job losses are envisaged in 2010.

"ATCOs are significantly well paid compared to other public sector workers such as teachers, guards and nurses, all of whom also do essential work," says Liam Kavanagh. "The salary for an ATCO is approximately €115K. If you factor in the pension contribution and the PRSI contribution that the IAA makes for each person, their total package comes to almost €160K. They do vital work and they are very well paid for that work. This is the wrong time to be looking for a pay increase of 6%. We have told the ATCOs we will be happy to review this in 2012."

Pension Contribution

The second issue, pension contribution: The IAA provides a defined benefits scheme for ATCOs.

"A defined benefits scheme is a Rolls Royce pension, and not many people are lucky enough to have such a pension," says Liam Kavanagh. "ATCOs make no contribution to their pension. The Authority, meanwhile, makes a contribution of 30.5% of salary for each person. We are asking them to make a contribution, in line with all of their colleagues in the public sector who now pay a pension levy. They do not want to make a contribution to their own pensions.

The IAA is asking ATCOs to make this contribution in line with all other public sector staff, and because the pension fund is in deficit to a total of €234 million.

Need for Ongoing Change

Ongoing change is a necessity in the dynamic aviation industry.

"We need to constantly review and update our systems," says Liam Kavanagh. "And we cannot afford to make a payment to people every time we upgrade a system. We are not talking revolutionary change - sometimes the change can be the equivalent of upgrading from Microsoft XP to Microsoft Vista. That level of ongoing change is vital to ensure that we are being effective."

We would ask IMPACT to desist from this action and to return to normal work. We can resolve all of these issues without having an impact on airlines and on the travelling public.

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Old 19th Jan 2010, 18:21
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This from Ryanair's website :


Due to industrial action by overpaid and underworked Air Traffic Controllers in Ireland, Ryanair has been forced to cancel 48 flights tomorrow (20th Jan) affecting over 6,000 passengers. Please see below the list of cancelled flights which were scheduled to operate to and from Dublin tomorrow (20th Jan).

Passengers affected by these cancelation should seeks compensation from IMPACT General Secretary Peter McLoone at [email protected] or on 00353-1- 8171529.

Traffic at Irish Airport fell 15% in 2009, and is set to fall further. ATC are seeking a 6% pay rise yet their worklaod has reduced by 25%. These overpaid air traffic controllers should agree to substantial pay cuts to reflect the reduced productivity being demanded of them at Irish airports this year.
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 18:24
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The Irish Aviation Authority is calling on air traffic controllers at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports to call off industrial action planned for tomorrow afternoon.

The three airports will effectively shut down between 2pm and 6pm as controllers attend mandatory union meetings. This will also affect flights through Irish airspace.

Ryanair has cancelled 48 flights scheduled for tomorrow, which it says will affect 6,000 passengers.

The meetings have been called after 15 air traffic controllers were suspended for failing to co-operate with new technology.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One IAA's Director of Human Resources Liam Kavanagh said the changes to technology are an essential upgrade for the aviation industry and called on the union to suspend action.

Since Christmas, IMPACT has been instructing controllers not to cooperate with the three new projects.

It has also been in dispute with the IAA over pay and pension issues.

However, the situation escalated when the IAA suspended without pay ten controllers in Dublin and five in Shannon, with further suspensions expected.

The Dublin Airport Authority has said that intending passengers should contact individual airlines regarding tomorrow's planned work stoppage by air traffic controllers.

The reforms have been discussed at the Labour Relations Commission and are being referred to the Labour Court.

IMPACT official Michael Landers said staff should not be suspended while negotiations were ongoing. He said workers are not opposed to new work practices, but rather the way in which they have been introduced.

The IAA said the real issue was the union seeking a 6% pay hike under Towards 2016, and the €234m pension deficit.

The company currently pays 30.5% of salary to the pension for staff, while staff contributes nothing.

The union is resisting IAA attempts to introduce contributions on a par with the public sector pension levy.
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 18:45
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What planet are these lads on? The country is on its knees because of these unions. They were given too much power during the good times and now we are all paying for it. That F-ing tool Landers was just on RTE news waffling about how this new technology will cause "more stress and need more mental effort" form the controllers, what a joke. Most People would give their left ball to be in a over protected job like ATC. And the IAA are just as bad, surely this could have all been sorted at the LRC or something? It better be over by Sunday, because I need to be in East Midlands before 9am on Monday to start a type rating. What a joke of a country we have, God bless Ireland
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 21:05
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Perfect support 737-500. I would guess that 'these lads' would have considered this quite deeply and aren't just walking out for the fun of it. I really wish that we at NATS had voted in full support of striking and walked out, screwing the public in the interim, but quite frankly, THATS THE POINT. Its a finger at the company you work for and a stand for what you believe in saying you will not be pushed around and accept anything they throw at you. Put that company on the line and in the light of disrupting the public, hopefully they'll compromise and you get more rights. I'm sorry you may not make the start of your type rating, honestly I really am, but don't blame the controllers, blame THEIR EMPLOYER. Facts and figures mean nothing, I have seen far too many to never believe NATS again in my life, I have voted for and against too many pay AND pension ballots and now think that they can say anything and it means nothing. NATS are in trouble so we change the pension however we make a profit and we all get a payout via our share options. Great. I'd rather the former thanks. Bout time I went and learnt Spanish, bloody deserve it.
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 21:20
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traffic down

It's good that traffic fell at Irish Airports as this is a loss making side of the business. Enroute traffic however is still there, every day, waiting to be separated. Controllers in the IAA make on average half a million euros each for the company in Revenue through provision of ANS.
This includes all the Tower, approach and information services which lose money. Our enroute charges are the 2nd or 3rd lowest in Europe yet the IAA still makes an operating profit in the downturn. If there is fat to be trimmed in the IAA it as the top heavy management end. Highlighted by the recent management conference which had over 80 attendees in a company of 600 odd. Some departments are managers only. A recent Job interview for a senior position was filled externally, against Policies and Procedures and they then went on to create positions for all the other people who applied. This during a so called pay freeze.
Our CEO sent a personal letter to each of us the week after Christmas with a list of demands and the threat of a 10% pay cut if we don't immediately and unconditionaly agree to their demands. This while negotiations are ongoing at the LRC.
After the last round of Social Partnership negotiations we had to take them to court to get them to pay.

My wife, after watching the News tonight said it all after Minister Dempsey was mentioned in the report with "pity his flight back from his f*cking holidays wasn't delayed.

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Old 19th Jan 2010, 21:33
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Also like to point out that the average salary for a controller is not 115k. That's the top possible earnings. At least Controllers earn their money through skilled labour. Go to the IAA website and read the Bio's of our board. Solicitors, Barristers, Lawyers and worst of all Accountants. There's only one with relevant experience in the Aviation Industry and only one with a recognisable Educational founding in Management.

Let's call a spade a spade. They make their money by trying to stop us from making more. wether it's through cost savings or productivity.

Now I don't mind my productivity being increased, in fact I'm all for it. But if they think they can get wealthy on the back of it while I take a financial hit too; (sorry PPRuNe) but they can go and **** themselves.
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 22:07
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They are striking due to the company suspending their colleagues over some technological advances arent they? It is not their union that has mentioned pay? Or have i got the wrong end of the stick.
Good luck to them.
nice support 737-500. nice. let's hope you don't **** up your type rating. if you can get there.
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 22:10
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BBC News - Airports hit by controller action
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 22:18
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The whole argument about a salary increase is a side issue. The 6% claim was awarded about 18 months ago under the Towards 2016 framework. This 6% has been pursued for over 18 months through legal processes, independent assessment of the issue has concluded in favour of staff, yet the IAA still refuses to budge as it says the independent assessment is wrong (awsure!). This is not the issue of the industrial action for tomorrow.

The dispute which has led to tomorrows action is about the roll out of new technology. Technologies such as controllers working without planners; ie solo ops in sometimes very busy radar environments; ie no new technology at all, just changed work practices; ie it gets busier individually and you are put under more stress; to boot they have attempted to move the minimum retirement age from 60 to 65. The dispute has been brought to ahead because the IAA will not negotiate about the new 'technologies'. Impact has told it's members not to participate in these projects (development of them, not implementation); the IAA has suspended 15 people without pay because of the non compliance; which was instigated because the IAA won't talk.

MOLs numbers don't stack up; how many ATCs have left in the last 2 years (retirements and resignations) how many have been recruited? 90(odd)% of Irish traffic (revenues at least) are overflights; so what's happening at the airports does not represent what's happening to the traffic.

There is a huge discrepancy in facts getting into the media. The IAA announced before Christmas without consultation that there would be massive changes to pensions and that no 'annual' increments would be paid before the end of 2012; all illegal and all without consultation.

2010 Irish ATC dispute – get the facts

But the classic line of "never let the facts get in the way of a good story" have never been truer.

Irish out.
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 22:33
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They are also in dispute with the IAA over pay and pension issues which are being discussed at the Labour Relations Commission. I think this strike tomorrow has more to do with this than the reason being give. Maybe they are trying to back the IAA into a corner to help their case with the negotiations? Anyway giving less than 24 hours notice of a stoppage was fairly poor form so you will have to excuse my lack of support
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 22:56
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An increase of 6% to would cost the IAA an additional € 6 million each year
That means that the current wage bill is €100million.

Meeting the 6% pay demand to 300 Air Traffic Controllers
€100million divided by 300 = €333,333 per controller on average.

If you factor in the pension contribution and the PRSI contribution that the IAA makes for each person, their total package comes to almost €160K
looks to me like management are exagerating the impact on the company.

...and Ryanair...
Due to industrial action by overpaid and underworked Air Traffic Controllers in Ireland
what a bunch of
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Old 19th Jan 2010, 23:54
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That phrase in the ryanair statement was a bit unprofessional for a company of ryanairs size to make to say the least. I wonder how many direct routings will be offered to ryanair when this all blows over.........

"any chance of direct xx?"

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Old 20th Jan 2010, 00:46
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Thanks, Hold at SATAN
You have explained all of management's calculations. They are using their own average salary as a stick to beat controllers with.
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Old 20th Jan 2010, 01:17
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This dispute is SOLELY about the suspension of my Colleagues. As our union has stated throughout the day, if they are reinstated we go back to work. Pure and Simple. IAA management linked this to pay, not anyone else. They didn't link it to the CEOs salary of 412k or the 5% pay increase they gave themselves last year or the 30% bonus one of their managers claims he got this year. 737-500 are you IAA management? or IBEC?

One thing that really needs to be explained is what exactly Liam Kavanagh meant when he said IBEc demanded this.......
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Old 20th Jan 2010, 01:23
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Is this the same IAA group that were short of controllers in the not too distant past and were implementing flow procedures due to a lack of bums in seats?????
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Old 20th Jan 2010, 01:26
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Exclamation Caution

To all Irish Atco's
We all need to let off steam but remember IAA and IBEC and the press will be monitoring this forum, let's not give them any info/ ammo they can use against us. There will always be someone trying to bait us into something silly (rumour has it that one of our directors was actively doing this last time around) just ignore them.
The NEC would prefer if there was no thread or if no Irish Atcos were involved.
Radio silence has it's benefits too.

curiosity killed the cat............... but I was a suspect for a while
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Old 20th Jan 2010, 05:49
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What a load of bollix being spouted by some so-called professional pilots . Your, and MOL's Press Officers, ignorance is showing. Tower and Area are two different animals.

I am sure the uk have perfectly qualified guys that could be got
Validations can't be obtained in a month and do you think the UK could spare anyone?

Had this thread been in R&N you would probably be baying for the forum to be closed to non-profs.

Looks like there's more spin being applied to the employer's figures than the entire English Cricket Team could do.

Traffic is dropping everywhere in the Western world. The airlines are also carrying less passengers but I don't see many here advocating that their own salaries be chopped
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Old 20th Jan 2010, 07:41
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Until now it was our USA cousins that were master of desinformation. Seems the Irish IAA ( and FR) has learned how to win a media battle as well.

This is where they will get us, via the media ( same for the spanish controllers salaries ). Their dreams is to put us back 30 years where we , controllers , were paid the same as the secretaries of the Ops department.

Now they even manage to get the pilots communauty against us with our controllers "outrageaous salaries " ! Think a bit further before typying.
For the managers, controllers and pilots are the same, we are all just the workers.
They will try to get pilots in the outraged bandwagon to reduce controllers salaries and benefits , and when that is done , you'll be next .
The aim today everywhere is to reduce costs, and make sure those on top keep on the biggest share of the pie.
Controllers first, pilots next, mark my words.
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Old 20th Jan 2010, 08:11
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Am I reading it right?

ATC guys in ROI don't contribute to their own pension funds? I'm not impressed with their inappropriate action. In Ireland's economic climate they should reflect on how lucky they are.
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