Brussels, (MOREL)- ATCEUC is horrified by the latest news from Albania. Air Traffic Controllers who only last Thursday met with the President of their country to express their fears and concerns regarding their treatment at the hands of their employer Albcontrol have been summarily dismissed and then arrested.
In a country which aspires to become member of the EU it is unacceptable that essential, safety critical workers could be fired and eventually arrested simply for performing their duties in accordance with EU regulations or for airing their concerns publicly when their employer refused to listen to or engage with them, an employer that is ultimately responsible for the safety of the passengers travelling through Albanian skies.
Albcontrol has unilaterally reduced the salaries of their employees by up to 70% without consulting or even talking to the Unions which represent their workers. Albcontrol has refused every request from the Unions to negotiate a responsible, collective agreement to resolve this crisis, a position which has put its employees under enormous additional stress in the midst of a global crisis. How can Albania see itself as worthy of a bright new future as an EU member when its reaction to workers pursuing their fundamental rights is to act in a way reminiscent of a dark stalinist past that we hoped had been buried, and arrest those who oppose them?
This is even more troubling, ATCEUC ASBL C/O MERITIUS, 431, Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Brussels, Belgium (judicial area of Brussels) VAT number BE 0684.488.814 when the Controllers are NOT acting politically but performing their duties according to both National and European Regulations. EU membership demands that Albania respects not just European Regulations but also the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Pillar of Social Rights, it must leave behind all the old ways of the past and fully embrace the rights of workers and its responsibilities towards aviation safety of the broader European communities (i.e. Council of Europe, E.C.A.C.) of which they are member. ATCEUC demands that every EU institution with dealings in Albania use their fullest influence to help Albania see that arresting its citizens who are simply fulfilling their duties and rights according to National and European Law instead of entering a meaningful and constructive dialogue with them could be seen as a sign that it is not ready to join the European Union and that their release and reinstatement is a fundamental step on the path to full EU membership. ATCEUC has lost all contact with our Albanian colleagues and is deeply upset by this development and concerned for their welfare, we demand that the Albanian authorities release our colleagues immediately. (ENDS)