Air Traffic Controllers to seek President’s intervention

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Air Traffic Controllers to seek President’s intervention

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Feb 05, 2009

Air Traffic Controllers to seek President’s intervention
February 4, 2009 | By knews

Air Traffic Controllers, through the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), will be approaching President Bharrat Jagdeo upon his return tomorrow, to intervene in the wages dispute between themselves and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

Yesterday, during a press conference, President of the GPSU, Patrick Yarde, called on all other members of the union to be on alert as they may have to be called out to support their colleagues.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday afternoon, Yarde said that the current fiasco with the Air Traffic Controllers and Engineers is about ‘playing games’ with public servants.

“We see what is happening now as playing games, putting one set of workers against another set of workers… paying some and not paying others… all workers face the same crisis, difficulties, and therefore all workers’ purchasing power must be maintained,” he emphasised.

He said that the union is calling on all its members, countrywide, to be prepared for industrial action as should this trend be accepted then it will result in serious consequences.

“We are no longer dealing in a democratic working class environment. We are dealing with a bully who is arrogant and dictatorial.”

At the moment, Yarde said, the current position taken on the issues with the workers are being viewed as the ‘Robeson Benn Attitude’ and not the government’s policy towards workers.

“It is for the government now to declare what Robeson Benn is saying as a governmental policy and an approach and treatment that they will be instituting against the working class people of Guyana.”

Currently, he added, the GCAA is breaching aviation rules with the current arrangement at the Control Tower.
This, he said, is highlighted in the fact that persons are allowed to work contrary to the civil aviation rules.

The rules state that controllers should have at least 16 hours rest before working. However, since last Friday when the strike began, this stipulation has been reduced by 50 percent.

“In other words, weary and tired people are guiding aircraft and it is grossly irresponsible, and should anything occur and there is loss of life, the person responsible should be charged with murder.”

Meanwhile, the Guyana Association of Air Traffic Control Officers, (GAATCO) yesterday said that Minister Robeson Benn is attempting to sully their reputation in the eyes of the public.

The issues with their salaries date back to 2002 when the GCAA was made a semi-autonomous agency.
In a statement issued yesterday, the GAATCO stated that the administration took a loan of US$30M to reform the aviation sector.

Monies from that sum, according to their interpretation of the Technical Report issued in August 2000 by International Services, UK, Civil Aviation Authority, commonly called the Business Plan, should have been used during the first five years of operation to replace all the Navigational Aids and Equipment.

“The fact that seven years after its inception we still have not seen the equipment replaced, begs the question, ‘where did that money go?’”

The GCAA has a mandate to provide a safe, orderly and efficient flow of air traffic through the country’s airspace as per the Civil Aviation Act of 2000.

According to the statement, the organization is now operating in breach of those International Standards and Recommended Practices, as it is rostering and allowing, requesting and instructing persons to work while being sick and tired.

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