Australian controllers may call for strike

Air traffic management-Driving efficiency

AAV_Bulletin_NEWSAustralian air traffic controllers are threatening to walk off the job for the first time in decades, saying they have understaffed and overworked. The union representing the controllers, Civil Air, said it is planning to apply for a so-called protected industrial action with the Fair Work Commission.

Executive Secretary Peter McGuane said too much was being asked of air traffic controllers with staff shortages exacerbated by the introduction of extra projects, according to Australian media reports. McGuane said projects such as a digitised system to control traffic in and out of Western Sydney were putting strain on the already overworked staff.

“They’re saying ‘If you want these conditions you’re going to have to trade off something else to fund it’,” he told local media. “We don’t accept that position, and that’s why it’s our intention to explore the processes before Fair Work.”

McGuane told local media the course of action had been decided after 14 meetings with Airservices failed to address the needs of fed-up traffic controllers. “Airservices was clearly warned on multiple occasions about the white-hot anger and despair that exists among employees due to the torrid workplace environment, and the appetite to pursue further action if claims were not met,” he said.

In a note to members, Civil Air explained there had been 14 meetings with Airservices since November 2023. “It is clear that despite 14 meetings, Airservices is not interested in actually considering our claims as serious items proposed by our members, and still believe that they are ambit,” it said.

An Airservices spokeswoman said negotiations were continuing and they still believed a new enterprise agreement could be made without the need for industrial action.


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