Social Collision Course

It has become increasingly obvious that our Senior Management, and the Director General in particular, struggle with comprehending how the social dialogue and consultation meetings should be conducted within EUROCONTROL. Such dialogue is absolutely essential to ensure our Agency can continue to serve our stakeholders in the best possible way.

Predictably, Senior Management disrespecting this essential dialogue led to a melt-down mid-2014. The so-called G8 meeting was setup to try and come to a mutual understanding and to a constructive social dialogue.

Much to our surprise then, did the Director General decide to discuss only Management’s points in an even more stubborn aggressiveness to a new consultation earlier this month. In doing so, he clearly neglected both existing agreements and renewed commitments made during the G8 meetings. This left the TUEM and other Unions no other option but to leave the consultation meeting – again.

Even IF the Director General was given the mandate by the States to carry through another administrative reform (which we KNOW is not the case), it should be noted that for years, EUROCONTROL staff has been confronted with accumulated reorganisations and reforms, which all have one thing in common: it was never enough!!!

The vast majority of EUROCONTROL employees, including those involved in the unions, are long-time employees. Contrary to what the Director General suggests in his communication to staff, we have a real vested interest in the long-term viability of our organisation. We have demonstrated this time and time again under all the previous Director Generals in charge of our efficient, independent international public institution!!!

Claims made by others that they can do things cheaper can be easily challenged: so far we only see these ‘efficient’ providers raising route charges or having major breakdowns after failing to invest. Whoever genuinely believes that they can be both better and cheaper is extremely naive! MUAC, our surveillance products and CRCO deliver services for prices well below the market. Why would other services, like CFMU and Network Manager be any different?

In his communication, the Director General says he’s worried. Is this really an attitude of a true leader? How many great leaders have tried to convince their followers by saying “they were worried”? Certainly not the ones that had a dream, a vision and an ideal!

The TUEM understands better than anyone else what’s at stake but we see different solutions. Imagine a Director General that would stand up at the Provisional Council to announce: "I have improved efficiency without bashing my staff, or their motivation."

It’s high time our Senior Management looks beyond staff costs and considers how we work and how this can be made more “efficient” by unburdening bureaucracy; cutting out nonsensical red tape and eliminating those that continuously create additional work for their departments without adding value to the organisation.

TUEM repeats that we are ready and committed to engage in constructive discussion with Senior Management on finding improvements in EUROCONTROL for the benefit of both our stakeholders and staff, as we always did: based on certain principles and mutual respect. But we will not engage in an exercise of short-term and short-sighted measures that need to be re-addressed again in two years because they again fail to have the desired results. A prime example would be the ETS debacle that deprived the Agency of a vast amount of expertise. Such rash measures clearly risk destroying the very core of our efficient, independent international public institution.

TUEM demands that the Director General finally shows respect for the long-standing, agreed principles of the Social Dialogue. As a start, the ENTIRE list of points tabled during the G8 meetings must to be discussed during consultations.

Failing this, TUEM can already predict the failure of what can again be associated with “mis-management at the highest level” and will draw its conclusions in due time.


Position Paper on Centralised Services


TRADE UNION EUROCONTROL MAASTRICHT (TUEM) welcomes Centralised Services (CSes) on the proviso that there are operated by EUROCONTROL and they are integrated in existing governance of EUROCONTROL, being the NetworkManager. This papers details TUEM views in order to promote a constructive dialogue on CSes to the benefit of Airspace Users.

Position on Centralised Services

General Position

The TUEM welcomes the Centralised Services (CSes).It is once again a demonstration of the level of expertise and ATC technical leadership of EUROCONTROL. However,TUEM thinks that CSes cannot be delegated to Industry for three reasons:

  • They are crucial for the good operation of the Network
  • CSes execute sovereign functions and could hinder some Member States Constitutional rights
  • Liability aspects introduced by operational aspects of CSes

Therefore,TUEM is in favour of CSes developed by Industry and operated by EUROCONTROL (under the model of the Network Manager(NM)-­-NetworkTechnicalSystem–(NTS)).


TUEM would welcome the extension of the Network Manager(NM)IR–ECNo 677/2011-­-to cover all CSes. Technical discussions would take place in existing bodies within EUROCONTROL governance according to the domain of the CS. Those groups already report to the ANSB (users of CSes)and the Provisional Council (Deciders). This is the most cost efficient mean to create effective Governance for CSes.

Development of CS

EUROCONTROL holding the best expertise in technical expertise in Europe would steer the development of CS. Industry consortium would bid on call for tender defined by EUROCONTROL. The aim is to gather the best expertise of Industry with the technical leadership of EUROCONTROL to ensure best possible systems for each CSes. EUROCONTROL will operate directly CSes and contract Industry for the maintenance of technical infrastructure.


TUEM thinks that CSes have to enter in an extension of NM IR. CSes are to impact positively the operation of the Network. As such and to maximise efficiency, EUROCONTROL, being the Network Manager, has to not only be responsible for CSes and also operate them. The same model enabled the success of Central Flow Management
Unit–NominatedN etwork Manager.


The EUROCONTROL senior management and the European Commission are invited to note the TUEM supports for Centralised Services on the proviso that there are operated by EUROCONTROL and they are integrated in existing governance of EUROCONTROL being the Network Manager.

Adding Insult to Injury, EUROCONTROL ‘Style’!

You will have all received a communication from Mr. Varano, Principal Director Resources, informing us of Germany’s refusal to ratify the 2013 salary adjustment. 

The TUEM wants to make it ABSOLUTELY clear that we put full and indisputable blame for this latest fiasco on EUROCONTROL Senior Management, in particular the Principal Director Resources. Through blatant incompetence and/or deliberate action, he appears to feel it necessary to continue insult our Agency and its staff! 

The latest episode of this soap opera is especially hard to accept, since TUEM and the other Unions were extremely accommodating in getting the new method approved, indeed showing utmost flexibility and understanding throughout the consultation process on the proposal made BY MANAGEMENT

In the mean time, we have learned of the dirty tricks played behind our backs at the expense of the Agency and its staff. There is no doubt to us that we have been deliberately mislead by the very people who we are expected to trust and have faith in - see also the outcome of the Staff Satisfaction Survey! 

For staff in MUAC in particular, this latest move is completely unacceptable. This amateurism not only delayed the whole process (to the point that the Agency is now in violation of its own statutes) but the salary adaptation is rejected for an adjustment of 0.1%... 

This is nothing short of an insult! 

While handling record levels of traffic, MUAC staff has to bend backwards to make do with less people and resources. Yet year after year, our centre is identified and even praised as the most efficient, performing and safest ATC centre in Europe, and beyond! 

Contrary to some others in this Agency, WE DELIVER what WE’VE COMMITTED TO! 

And what do we get in return? LIES, DECEIT AND INCOMPENTENCE! 

Given that the consultation on this subject formally ended last December, TUEM gives management one chance and one chance only to rectify this situation immediately. 

Looking at the developments, we ask our members to stand-by for further information – and not necessarily positive – in the course of next week. 


Salary Adjustment

Following the agreement on a revised salary calculation method last year, it was revealed last month that this new method could not be used due to EUROSTAT not providing certain key parameters.

Whether this could have been anticipated by the Agency’s Management or not, it required yet another panic compromise with the social partners. This agreed proposal was then forwarded to the Provisional Council last week. The Member States (Germany) did NOT ratify the proposal claiming the need for more information. An approval by correspondence within four weeks was requested.

The TUEM EC considers this yet another sign that the EUROCONTROL Resource Directorate has lost its sense of direction. Rather than focusing on their core tasks, they continue wasting time on superfluous items at consultations that are not in the interest of the Agency and its staff.

Needless to say that TUEM will closely monitor this situation, but has little choice but to (again) start preparing for legal and industrial action to defend the rights of its members.

We will keep you posted of any developments.


Considering joining TUEM? NOW...more than ever!

By now, you should have received information on the incentive payment, rewarding MUAC staff for their outstanding performance in 2013. A job well done...again!

As you know, this incentive was negotiated by TUEM for ALL MUAC staff to counter perverse effects of ‘modernisations’ made to our salary calculation. Today we all can enjoy some “fruits”, thanks to the support demonstrated by the TUEM membership!

Sadly, it seems that the Agency management is determined to continue to undermine staff motivation while  blaming  staff  representatives  counteracting  their  vicious  moves.  They tried to sneak in other measures that would have affected many more in a very negative way in February. TUEM had to react yet again to defend ALL MUAC staff and was able to avoid very detrimental changes to our GCE’s.

Despite the obvious, blogs and e-mails coming from some sources in HQ are pertinently misleading, or simply lying!

TUEM did not deem necessary to react so far. We leave it to our current (and future) colleagues  to judge  who  truly  defends  their  social and  professional interests!

Common Sense has Prevailed

Dear Members,

Representatives of TUEM met with the Director General on Tuesday evening (18 Feb 2014) to discuss the issues that lead to our call for industrial action.

Having carefully listened to the TUEM’s arguments, the Director General has decided to withdraw the entire proposal. In addition, he committed to a review of the consultation process with the aim of better aligning effort and outcome.

It should be clear that this narrowly averted crisis was the escalation of a number of experiences over the past year. At the same time, we remain convinced that the entire proposal opened a box of Pandora at the expense of the Staff.

In light of things to come, MUAC and its staff need stability to deliver growth and performance. As such, TUEM will remain extremely vigilant for any initiative that could undermine the ability of MUAC to serve our customers in the best and most efficient way.

We urge those considering unilateral and inadequate ‘improvements’ to carefully examine what has lead to this escalation and draw lessons to avoid similar confrontations in the future.

With the above in mind, the TUEM Executive Board withdraws the call for industrial action as published on 14 February 2014.

The TUEM Board wishes to explicitly thank its members for their massive support. At the same time, we would like to commend the entire MUAC Staff, members and non-members, for their professionalism and sereneness in which they prepared for this crisis.



As you know, the TUEM AGM will be held on 13 FEBRUARY 2014, starting at 1900h in the usual venue: Hotel Van Der Valk in Urmond.

The agenda can be found here.

Given the current state of affairs of the social dialogue, the board will be seeking strong mandate from the membership for industrial action. If you cannot attend, please ensure that your voice is heard through a proxy

European Action Day


The TUEM Executive Board would like to thank all the members, and non-members, who helped to make ATCEUC’s European Action Day a success. Despite the short notice and limited manoeuvring room, you can be sure that your voice has been heard.

The European Commission’s plans are tentatively scheduled for a plenary discussion in the European Parliament mid-March. In the mean time, our action has given the European Unions further leverage to lobby parliamentarians against the unrealistic plans of the Commission. Let’s hope they understand our message and that we’re not forced to call for stronger actions before the formal vote in Parliament…

As there are many challenges ahead of us: it’s important that all MUAC staff stand united against any initiative, internal and/or external to the Agency, which seeks to attack MUAC’s position as one of the best performing ATC Centres in the world or that undermines our stimulating and motivating social environment.

You’ve shown during this European Action Day that taking such a stand is not only possible, but that it can be done efficiently in a contained and professional manner. Well done!




Today, Wednesday 29th January 2014, controllers and support staff all over Europe will protest against the European Commission and their approach to SES2+ and the so-called Reporting Period 2 (Budget and performance targets for 2015-2019). Our issues with these plans have been extensively highlighted in previous mails, on our website and Facebook pages and at an Extraordinary General Meeting last year.

Across Europe, a number of ATCEUC Unions will call on their members to strike, while others will instruct them to work according to the "FLIGHT PLAN ADHERENCE" principle.

In addition, a demonstration will be held in Brussels followed by a press conference and a meeting with members of the European Parliament to again illustrate our fundamental issues with the approach taken by the European Commission and Commissioner Siim Kallas. We strongly believe these plans are detrimental to the safety and service of European Air Traffic in the short, medium and long term.

For Maastricht UAC

TUEM advises its members to ensure aircraft strictly adhere to their filed flight plan route and level.  Unless it's needed for separation and other safety related issues, deviations to route and level should be avoided as much as possible between 0900 and 1900 UTC (1000-2000 local).

As we expect that the European ATM network will be impacted by these actions in an unpredictable way and in order to protect sectors against unforeseen workloads, we advise our members not to accept any traffic that has not filed in our airspace, also between 0900-1900UTC.

If asked by crew and others why they get no DCT's or other questions, a possible reply can be "In support of the ATCEUC/European action day". Under no circumstances should individual controllers be tempted to make any statements to the press or in public for a (e.g. via internet), or engage in discussions (e.g. on the frequency).

Local MASUAC management is informed about the ATCEUC actions and TUEM's advise towards its members. They have taken note of these and expressed a “neutral position” towards them.


UPDATE: Another Bridge Too Far?


Dear colleagues,

On January 22nd, the Director General sent an update on new grading structure and career mechanism for staff.

According to his message, the relationship between the management and the social partners is constructive, the package to be approved by the Members States will "restore careers perspectives" and "it is too important for staff to delay".

This statement is far from the facts and you are invited to remember the recent communications supported by ALL the representative trade unions.

Below, you will find a letter explaining to the Member States the main reasons why ALL trade unions are opposed to the global package.

If it is important for many of us to be eligible for promotion again, it also seems very important for the Principal Director Resources to legalise some recruitment and transfer abuses.

(By the way, an increase in the number of staff eligible for promotion does not imply any rise in the number of promotions, especially so in this time of crisis and supposed cost-cutting).

Once more, there is no obligation to link the opening of career brackets to other statutory modifications.

Read the letter to the Member States (pdf)

Read the full TUEM Flash Info