Skeyes management calls for clear rules on a minimum service in the event of strikes

Skeyes management calls for clear rules on a minimum service in the event of strikes
Union and Skeyes representatives will meet next week to continue negotiations to put an end to a months-long strike. © Belga

The management of air traffic controllers Skeyes is calling on the incoming federal government to set clear minimum-service rules in the event of strikes by air-traffic controllers, CEO Johan Decuyper told the Chamber’s Mobility Commission on Tuesday.

"We prefer to come to an agreement on the issue with the trade unions, but if that does not work, the authorities may also intervene, the former Belgocontrol CEO said.

The issue of the minimum service was mentioned in the government agreement. Management and unions at Skeyes have been holding talks for some time, but their consultation was placed on hold.

Now, management is again tabling the matter. “It’s urgent to have a clear framework, enshrined in the law, for guaranteed service, as is done in other public services,” Skeyes said in a memo for the incoming federal government.

A minimum service was established, for example, at the national railway utility, SNCB, in mid-2018. Mobility Minister François Bellot took the initiative after the social partners failed to reach agreement on setting up a minimum service, denounced by the unions as an unacceptable attack on the right to strike.

In concrete terms, the Skeyes management wishes to know in advance, in the event of a strike notice, which workers will take part in the strike so as to set up a minimum service and plan operations.

"The impact of strikes could be attenuated if the expected level of service is announced beforehand,” the air traffic control service said. “Airlines and stakeholders at airports could thus reorganise their operations to limit the effects on passengers and the economy to the maximum.”

The Brussels Times

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