A few days before the ROMATSA strike set for May 30, an NGO – ‘Construim Romania’ – makes public a comparison between the activity and wages of Romanian air traffic controllers, the best paid employees in the country, and those of from UK.
According to the analysis, the busiest airport in the European Union, Heathrow in London, serves a total of over 75 million passengers a year, accounting for about 475,000 aircraft movements annually, or an average of 1,300 aircraft movements per day. This service is provided by the NATS, UK’s main Air Navigation Service Provider, with a total of only 60 traffic controllers, whose net average income (including bonuses) is equivalent to EUR 4,500 / month, while only the traffic controllers with more than five years of experience and supervisory tasks in the control tower have a monthly income of EUR 6,300 / month.
At the same time, Henri Coanda (Otopeni) International Airport in Bucharest serves less than 11 million passengers, with only 108,000 aircraft movements per year, meaning less than 300 daily aircraft movements.
‘Construim Romania’ points out that although the traffic on Otopeni Airport is four times lower than the number of aircraft movements than Heathrow’s, at the same number of active tracks – two – ROMATSA uses 47 controllers in the Otopeni control tower, almost the same as the busiest airport of the European Union.
Moreover, in terms of the cost of living four times lower in Bucharest compred to London, the average income (including bonuses) of a controller in the Henri Coanda Airport control tower is clearly higher than that of the British counterparts, EUR 7,000 compared to EUR 5,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Razvan Cuc said he is closely monitoring the situation at ROMATSA, insisting that while he is open to dialogue, he will in no way work under pressure.
“I had already met officials of the ROMATSA trade unions before the initial strike two weeks ago. They aired their grievances that the government could deal with and we agreed on a very clear schedule that we, the ministry, have taken up, but, on the other hand, I find the pressure the ROMATSA trade union members are putting on Romanians’ incoming small break is unjustified, all the more so as I guess you know the size of the wages paid to ROMATSA traffic controllers. We are talking about average wages of RON 21,000 (almost EUR 5,000).
He added that the Transport Ministry worked on schedule, meeting the deadlines agreed upon with ROMATSA.