Swiss Court confirmed a convicting sentence to an air traffic controller for a safety incident

On July 4, the federal court of Lausanne confirmed a sentence to a Swiss air traffic controller for a safety incident, where all layers of safety worked and there was no material or personal damage.
The air traffic controllers, together with the pilots, are the main stakeholders when it comes to providing air safety. For the correct performance of our work, it is of vital importance that we can report, within a non-punitive system, those incidents that we believe may affect safety and, of which, safety management systems can obtain recommendations and improvements that continue to increase the already high levels of safety in our environment.
Without this reporting system, the main pillar of the Just Culture and Safety Culture, there can be no improvements, since we will not be able to detect where an error could be brewing until it is too late. Keeping aviation as the safest means of transportation at present is only possible from Air Navigation Service Providers oriented towards Just Culture.
It is impossible to carry out our profession, subject to a high level of stress, without mechanisms that help improve the system from a non-punitive point of view, always seeking to improve operational safety. The Just Culture is a concept that has taken a long time to be implemented in our environment and is responsible for detecting possible ills and / or negligence and differentiating them from the human errors admitted by a system of high specialization and great complexity. Situations like the one that is being lived in Switzerland can only mean a setback of this process of establishing a healthy Safety Culture in Europe.
As air traffic controllers, it seems incomprehensible that this fundamental process of the Just Culture has been used to initiate a criminal process that will end up undermining the safety culture in Switzerland. We want to show our most sincere support to our Swiss colleagues in the face of this situation caused by their judicial system, which, unfortunately, will end up affecting the safety of operations and their own health.
The interference of non-operative stakeholders tends to produce safety losses. In the case of Spain, the low-cost system of safety through the liberalization of towers to private air navigation providers, where air traffic controllers are subject to dismissal for decision-making, even demonstrating in the courts the injustice of their dismissal, it’s producing a more than obvious risk of safety.
From USCA, we only hope that the culture of criminalization that is being submitted to our Swiss colleagues stops. It is necessary that the Swiss legal system understands the importance of Just Culture systems in our environment and that the only crime that has been committed is the deterioration of the safety that this sentence will entail. We hope that, finally, sanity is imposed, and we continue with the project that benefits all European citizens: A Just Culture fully implemented throughout the European sky.

USCA criticises that the II Collective Agreement for the privatized towers, signed this Friday, has been rejected by 83% of the staff

.- CCOO and UGT have signed this text with Ferronats and SAERCO, following the pre-agreement reached at the SIMA (mediation service) after a call for strike.

.- Air traffic controllers working in the 13 privatized towers ask that the new collective labour agreement improves the working conditions they have since 2011, conditions that are not deemed appropriate for such a demanding profession.

.- The new CLA reinforces unstable and precarious contracts, despite the fact that workers assume all the responsibilities inherent to the post.


Madrid, 10 th June, 2016.

USCA denounces that 83% of the controllers working in the privatized towers have rejected the the II Collective Agreement that CCOO and UGT have signed last Friday with Ferronats and SAERCO.

These unions called for a srike in the towers of Arrecife, Fuerteventura, La Palma, Alicante, Ibiza, Sevilla, Valencia, Jerez de la Frontera, Vigo, A Coruña, Sabadell and Cuatro Vientos (Madrid), currently managed by SAERCO and Ferronats, but after the mediation of the SIMA they reached an agreement last Monday.

In the survey carried out by the local delegates, the 83% of the controllers of the privatized towers have rejected the text, considering that the new CLA should improve their working conditions and provide stability to the relationship with the management.

They demand, among other things, improvements in the working shift patterns to make them compatible with the RD1001/2010, which establishes, amongst other issues, minimum resting periods. They also ask for the consolidation of a system to allocate leave and holidays, a complement in case of sick leave, a procedure to move to other units and a pay rise.

USCA reproves CCOO and UGT for signing this CLA without the agreement of the union delegates that represent air traffic controllers, who had already made some proposals to the management.

Finally, the negotiation has been reduced to a minimum agreement in which Ferronats promises, without guarantees, to improve the local conditions in each unit (tower), only if the delegates sign the sectorial one. This is clearly a means of pressure, since they threat that they will not make any improvement otherwise.

This II CLA also consolidates precarious contracts (such as apprenticeship contracts for a specific project or service during a year, in SAERCO).

USCA finds this negotiation process to be deplorable, though the current relationship with the providers was foreseeable after the way the sector was liberalized in 2011. We believe that they have faked a solution to the labour dispute to feign social peace before the service is again open for tender.

This union, representing over 90% of the 2.400 controllers working in Spain, harshly criticized this privatization process, in which the controllers already working in these towers were not given the option to stay with the new provider.

USCA hopes that these controllers finally achieve working conditions that are commensurate with the average terms in the rest of the European countries.