Unacceptable Mistreatment of Air Traffic Controllers in ASECNA Countries

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the International Federation Of Air Traffic Controllers Associations (IFATCA) jointly condemns the actions of the ASECNA authorites to detain, suspend and otherwise harass the air traffic controllers of our members in the federation of ASECNA.
We have been following the recent events and are aware of the industrial action which has recently taken place and the suspensions which followed for 14 of our affiliates members. We were particularly concerned at this response since the strike was suspended by our affiliates in its second day after receiving verbal promises from the Prime Minister of Niger. We now understand that the Burkina Faso authorities have also decided to dissolve the federation of ASECNA ATC association (FAPCAA). This sequence of events is unnecessarily escalating an already difficult situation in the region. Our members suspended the strike in good faith on the second day and yet have been seriously abused by suspensions and their Union threatened with de-recognition. We ask you urgently to lift the suspensions immediately and to refrain from further sanctions in order to establish a positive framework in which management and union leaders can come together and begin to discuss the issues and reach a satisfactory way forward for everyone. It should be noted that the ICAO Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI) region which encompasses the ASECNA States in Africa, is to implement Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) procedures in the region with effect from 25 September 2008. Needless to say, the safe and efficient introduction of RVSM requires the availability of an adequate number of properly qualified and highly motivated workforce of air traffic controllers. ASECNAs action to continue the suspension and support of detention of a number of controllers is a very negative development that threatens to affect the safety of flight operations in the airspace and airports under ASECNAs control. It is vital for our members but also for the economies and general well being of the various states in the region, that air traffic control services are placed on a more secure basis which will continue to give confidence to the traveling public. Only an effective return to the negotiating table can achieve this goal.
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