Worldwide the global pandemic has underscored the stress and concern of essential workers, like air traffic controllers, that cannot work from home. Exacerbating the situation, in Albania, Albcontrol has unilaterally cut pay as much as 70%, manipulated rosters and refused dialogue for resolution with the air traffic controllers. Consequently, last week five air traffic controllers in Albania declared a temporary inability to work due to the stress caused by attacks from their employer on their terms and conditions. This decision by the controllers is permitted under the International Convention on Civil Aviation which prohibits air traffic controllers from exercising their licences when they are aware of any decrease in their mental or physical fitness. In response they have been arrested, questioned, publicly named, vilified and fired from their positions.
As colleagues protest the unjust action in Albania, the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, announced that the Government is considering legal action against anyone protesting and threatening those that refused to return to work with dismissal. Due to the ongoing tenuous situation IFALPA is advising all pilots to exercise extreme caution when operating in Albanian airspace.
The Alliance stands in solidarity with our colleagues in Albania and condemns the actions of the Albanian authorities. The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental right of workers and should be respected, and as such we call upon the Albanian Government to adhere to international safety standards, cease their draconian actions, and engage with the air traffic controllers through genuine meaningful dialogue.