Gov't proposes higher wages for protesting air traffic controllers
Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, has described a PLN 55,000 (EUR 11,690) monthly salary for striking air traffic controllers as a “very good” proposal.
The controllers have been protesting for several weeks now, demanding higher wages and better working conditions and threatening they will refuse to renew their contracts, which expire on April 30, if their demands are not met.
"The conditions presented by (Infrastructure) Minister (Andrzej) Adamczyk are good, and even very good for air traffic controllers," the prime minister said, adding that Adamczyk will represent the government in the negotiations to the very end.
The controllers have demanded to talk directly to the prime minister.
"At the same time, taking into account the working time of European controllers, Poland sits on one of the lowest positions, second from the bottom, with a 30-hour working week," Morawiecki said.
The Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PAZP) and Adamczyk have been involved in the negotiations with the controllers, whose wages were cut during the coronavirus pandemic due to a limited number of flights. Their contracts are about to expire but they are not satisfied with a new proposal of higher wages from May and have refused to sign the new contracts.
PAZP and the controllers have agreed not to release details of their talks to the media, but Adamczyk once said, as quoted by the aviation website rynek-lotniczy.pl: "A question arises whether we should reach into Polish taxpayers' pockets to cover wages of PLN 60,000 or 70,000 a month that the controllers demand."
The stalemate may bear the most severe consequences for Warsaw's two airports, Chopin and Modlin, which face a reduction of flights by two-thirds from May.
Under the government's contingency plan, only 11 airlines flying on 32 routes in total will be allowed at the two airports from May 1. Landings and take-offs would only take place in a 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. window.