Update4: Air traffic controllers suspend general strike. Bucharest Court says protest was legal

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The ROMATSA air traffic controllers’ strike has been suspended at 12.10h, earlier than it was expected (13.00h), Minister of Transport Răzvan Cuc said. “We’ve reached an agreement with the trade unions and the strike is suspended as of 12.10, even earlier than it was originally set at 13.00h,” the minister said.

The ROMATSA strike is temporarily suspended, but if the negotiations fail, it can be resumed at any time without going through the intermediate stages, Gabriel Tudorache, leader of the Air Traffic Services Trade Union – ATSR, said on Tuesday.

“Considering the negative impact on passengers following the protest actions, the parties – ROMATSA and ATSR – have agreed the following: the conflict is temporarily suspended from 12.10h with the continuation of the negotiations; if the negotiations fail, the strike can be resumed without going through the intermediate stages of the labour conflict,” Gabriel Tudorache said.

Florin Diaconu, spokesperson for ATSR, confirmed that the air Traffic Controllers have suspended the strike at 12:10h. “We have declared the strike suspended at 12:10h, now we are heading to the Bucharest Court,” Diaconu said.

Bucharest Court has ruled on Tuesday that the air traffic controllers’ strike is legal. The court rejected as unfounded the challenge submitted by ROMATSA. The ruling is not final and can be challenged by appeal. The decision was greeted by trade unionists with applause.

ROMATSA challenged in court the legality of the protest on Monday.

Air traffic controllers started at 9.00h on Tuesday the announced general strike, expected to last at least two hours. One third of the flights involving Romania’s air space will be operated. Sources say 200 to 500 flights are affected by the strike. Most affected are the Henri Coanda Airport in Bucharest and Cluj Airport.

Meanwhile, the Bucharest Court has postponed the decision on the legality of the strike for 13.00h.

Monday morning EUROCOTROL, the European body to direct air traffic, was to decided which flights are to be cancelled.


Live updates on Tuesday:

  • Transport Minister Cuc says the strike will be suspended and traffic will resume at 13.00h
  • Airport representatives warn the delays will be rolling all day long and have requested the passengers to come to the airports to be ready to board, so that when the traffic is resumed they leave immediately
  • Sibiu Airport – two flights are affected, Lufthansa and Tarom. The Lufthansa flight was due to arrive in Sibiu, but it hasn’t left Munich yet, airport spokeswoman Nicoleta Boborodea said; the Tarom flight should have reached Munich at 13.10h, but will probably reach the destination at 15.45h, she added;
  • Blue Air announces 10 flights are affected to and from Bucharest, Bacau, Iasi and Constanta; the flights are not cancelled, however they’ve been delayed;
  • Henri Coanda (Otopeni) Airport spokesman Vaneltin Iordache tells passengers to come to the airport, although delays will occur. During an ordinary day there are 150 landings and 150 takeoffs on and from Otopeni; At 10.00h, Otopeni: 7 delayed flights by 30 minutes, 30 delays overall, 6 flights cancelled;

On Monday, the Romanian Air Traffic Services Union (ATSR), within ROMATSA, announced they will start a general strike on Tuesday amid dissatisfaction with the way the company is managed.

Trade union leader Gabriel Tudorache said on Monday, following talks at the Ministry of Transport, where both the ROMATSA and the ATSR trade unions were present, that after talks with Transport Minister Răzvan Cuc, there is a good chance that the announced general strike to be stopped in a relatively short time.

“What we can tell you at the moment is that, following talks with the Transport Minister and with the representatives of both the Ministry of Transport and the Romanian aeronautical authorities, there is a fair chance that this strike, which we have announced for an indefinite period of time, can be stopped in a relatively short period of time. It is impossible to appreciate right now that it will last two hours, three hours, or an hour and so,” ATSR leader Gabriel Tudorache said.

He added that the strike will start on Tuesday as of 9.00h, as the negotiations with the ministry have failed.

Transport Minister Razvan Cuc said after the negotiations; “I am certain that tomorrow the strike  will not last long, it will last only a little. There’s no nonconformity in terms of safety. We will solve the problems by law. A thorough check will be performed at Romatsa. In no way we are not talking about Romatsa’s bankruptcy.”

Asked by reporters, the minister confirmed the control body will conduct checks at Romatsa, inclusing on the employment policy.

Last week the air traffic controllers announced they will be on general strike on Tuesday, May 30, as of 9.00h. The trade unionists say they have not reached an agreement with the Romatsa management on the collective bargaining agreement.

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