Polish government reaches truce with union over air traffic controllers’ pay

Polish authorities have signed an agreement with the air traffic controllers union which means that air traffic controllers will remain in work and there will be no closing of the sky over Poland

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: forsal.pl
A Boeing 767 of the Polish airlines LOT landing at the Frederic Chopin airport in Warsaw, Poland. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Poland’s Transport Minister Andrzej Adamczyk confirmed on Thursday that an agreement had been reached with the air traffic controllers union which will enable normal air traffic flows to continue across Poland.

A dispute over pay with air traffic controllers was threatening the country with having to reduce flights by up to two-thirds from May 1. Air traffic controllers were threatening that they would refuse to sign new contracts and would commence strike action.

The air traffic controllers union said that while an understanding had been reached, this was not the end of the matter and was more a temporary truce. Union chief Andrzej Frenrych said his organization had compromised in order to help the public and the airlines industry. 

The dispute between the authorities and the air traffic controllers involved working practices, safety issues and pay.

According to the agreement reached between the two sides, an internal audit and restructuring of the agency responsible for air traffic control is to take place in the near future. Pay for the two months ahead is to be pegged to 2019 rates. 

Adamczyk told a parliamentary subcommittee that he was relieved that the sky will now not be closed over Poland. He admitted that the agency responsible for air traffic control had agreed to return air traffic controllers pay to pre-pandemic levels for the time being.

He warned that escalating pay demands could lead to higher airport charges, higher ticket prices, or the need for state subsidies. 

The transport minister told MPs that air traffic controllers in Warsaw earn on average approximately €7,500 per month whereas in other regions that figure is closer to €4,000. However, in some cases earnings can exceed €15,000 per month.

These figures were however lower than pre-pandemic rates when there was more air traffic being handled. 

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