The Polish Air Navigation Services Agency agreed to all the demands of air traffic controllers regarding safety rules and the return to pre-pandemic salaries. The agreement ends the months-long dispute between employees and the Agency and thus removes the spectre of cancellation of most flights from Chopin Airport and Modlin after May 1.
“We managed to reach an agreement, but this is not the end of the war, it is a truce. In the name of further good cooperation, so as not to paralyse air traffic in Poland (…) we made far-reaching concessions and we managed to reach an agreement” said representatives of trade unions during the parliamentary subcommittee on air transport.
“We hope that tomorrow the effects of the regulation (blocking traffic in Mazovia from May 1 – ed.) Will be withdrawn” said Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk.
“I would like to ask Minister Adamczyk on this occasion to closely observe what is happening in the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, so that such situations do not occur in the future” said Andrzej Fendrych, vice-president of the Air Traffic Controllers Trade Unio.
For now, however, the agreement is temporary and will remain in force until 10 of July.
Work regulations and safety for the next two months
As he added, the trade unions will work on work regulations and safety for the next two months.
The PANSA headquarters agreed to return to the level of remuneration of air traffic controllers from before the pandemic, as well as to accept all the demands of the trade union regarding safety rules.
Periods of notice ended on 30 April. Their departure, in the event of disagreement with PANSA, may have resulted in paralysis of air traffic in Mazovia on May 1 and the cancellation of 2/3 of flights at Chopin Airport and approx. flights from the Warsaw-Modlin Airport. I wrote about the huge reductions in connections from Modlin here .
The Civil Aviation Authority, in the event of no agreement at PANSA, selected 32 priority routes – mostly belonging to LOT Polish Airlines. The rest was to be determined by a special algorithm. This solution did not appeal to all carriers and had further repercussions: Ryanair submitted a complaint to the European Commission against the Polish government for favouring the national carrier. “The regulation shows the attitude of the authorities towards Ryanair” said Michał Kaczmarzyk, president of the Buzz line, Ryanair in Poland, in an interview.
The dispute had lasted for many months
The dispute had lasted for many months. The air traffic controllers did not agree to the salary cuts, as we have detailed in this text. They explained that as a result their salaries will be reduced by about 30 to 50 percent.
The agency explained that it simply cannot afford to keep so many air traffic controllers at this level. PANSA’s income depends on the level of air traffic over Poland, and this has sharply decreased with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.