24-hour strikes of air flights dispatchers start from midnight on Saturday before Sunday 24 July. They will block the Greek airports for an indefinite period of time. The Union of air flights dispatchers in Greece accused the government of continues unconcern to the need for organizational changes in the operation of air traffic services under EU rules.
The decision of the dispatchers will trigger an avalanche of reactions. It is equivalent to an air exclusion of Greece as there will be no flights to and from Greek airports from Sunday on for an indefinite period of time. The strike will affect also tourism and airlines companies as well as the Greeks, who will not be able totravel.
Dispatchers are determined to strike despite the court's decision because it is certain that the Office for Civil Aviation will launch a charge against them. “We all know that, in practice, the trade unions law prohibits us to strike – a right granted to all other working people. The Union of dispatchers said that it will take all measures to invalidate the court decision” said a press release of the dispatchers union.
They declared their intention to strictly comply with the capacity of Greek airspace, which means “white strike”. They will comply with stringent international security requirements (of ΙCΑΟ), which will lead to a reduction of the aircraft to fly over Greece and the hourly movement on Greek airports. They implemented that practice last year and it certainly leads to many hours of delays at airports, because when planes lose their turn for five minutes they have to remain at the airport at least an hour or two, causing delays of subsequent flights.
Delays of flights would cause domino effect from one airport to another. From Sunday on the situation will spiral out of control as thousands of tourists will get stuck at airports, others will fail to arrive and this will cause enormous financial damage to tourism, especially to the islands. The airlines, which have already been hit by the cancellation of thousands of flights because of outbreak of the Icelandic volcano, will suffer most. “The losses for the country, tourism, import of easily perishable products will be irreversible if no measures are taken” highlight tourist agencies.
The reason for the strike is dispatchers request to be paid their salaries for the past three months (extra hours, holidays, etc.), but also organizational changes in air traffic services to be made so as to maintain a high level of security, and the revenues from the fees for use of the airspace to be spend exclusively for that purpose.