Irelandís Air Traffic Controllers Return To Work Under Court Supervision





Irelandís Air Traffic Controllers Return To Work Under Court Supervision

By Mike Mitchell

January 23, 2010 Ė On Friday, Irelandís Labor Court mediated the actions taken by the Irish Aviation Authority and Irelandís air traffic controllers. The court laid out stipulations that all parties agreed to. The Irish Aviation Authority has reported Irelands Air Traffic Controllers have returned back to work and those Air Traffic Controllers that were suspended were restored to active employment effective 1800 hours on Friday January 22, 2010.

Irelands Labor Court proposed the following arrangements to be put in place for the purpose of restoring Irelandís air traffic control system. Those currently suspended will be restored to their work duties effective 18.00 hours on Friday 22nd January 2010. There will be no industrial action of any kind. It is acknowledged that a bona-fide dispute exists between the parties.

The dispute concerning the proper classification of this work will be referred to the Court under Section 20(2) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 for final and binding adjudication and both parties agree in advance to be bound by the decision of the Court on that question. The Court will hear the parties on the Tuesday 26th January 2010 and will issue its adjudication as soon as practicable thereafter.

In consideration of the above the Union will, at the request of the Court, withdraw its objection to participation in the project work giving rise to this dispute and will undertake this work if requested to do so by management. The proposal was agreed by all parties. The Labor Court hearings next week will address all three issues pay, pensions, and project work. 

On Tuesday the Irish Aviation Authority, (IAA) was formally notified by the air traffic controllers union, IMPACT that a work stoppage would begin on this day. The industrial action scheduled by IMPACT would involve work stoppages between 14.00 and 18.00 in Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports and will disrupt services at all airports. The Irish Aviation Authority suspended 14 air traffic controllers due to w work stoppage.

The IAA is calling IMPACT to desist from this action, to defer the 6% pay claim, to pay a pension contribution like everyone else in the public service, and to return to normal working. "We had no option but to suspend 14 Air Traffic Controllers," says Liam Kavanagh, Director of HR.


More than 120 flights in and out of Ireland were cancelled Wednesday when air traffic controllers staged a four-hour walkout in a bid for higher pay. The Irish Aviation Authority employs 300 controllers at Ireland's airports in Dublin, Cork and Shannon. "These Controllers have stopped doing work on a number of ongoing projects - work they have already been doing for the last two years.  We cannot function effectively if Controllers refuse to carry out ongoing work."  

IMPACT has instructed Controllers not to co-operate with a number of ongoing technology projects unless the Authority pays for such changes.  Ongoing change is a core part of the IAAs work as the airlines demand greater efficiency and the European commission has challenged all Air Traffic service providers to become more efficient and embrace change. "We cannot function if we have to pay people every time we upgrade a system," Liam Kavanagh says. "The real issue here is money. Air traffic controllers want two things. 

Irish Aviation Authority has stated the union wants a 6% pay increase agreed in the last partnership agreement - despite the fact that the whole world has been turned on its head since that agreement, the industry is in trouble, and volumes of work are decreasing. And they do not want to pay anything towards their pensions - even though all other public service staff now pay the pension levy. The Controllers make no contribution to their own pensions. The Authority, meanwhile, pays a contribution of 30.5% of salary for every member of staff. 

(see Irelandís Air Traffic Controllers Go Out On Strike)

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