No justification for air traffic controllers' action, say business leaders

Business chiefs have hit out at today's proposed work stoppage by air traffic controllers, claiming it is unjustified and will damage the country’s image.

Brendan McGinty, director of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), said: “Air traffic controllers are highly paid and enjoy benefits far beyond those of most workers.

“There is no justification for industrial action and it is outrageous that the public is being held to ransom in this way.

“Today’s action will cause major disruption to business and the travelling public.”

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) accused the Government of trying to sabotage the economy.

ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said: “The work stoppage is a scurrilous attempt to hold the country to ransom, sabotage the economy and take advantage of the vulnerability of passengers.”

Chambers Ireland’s Air Transport Users Council (ATUC) said that today’s actions are unconstructive and unhelpful at a time when Ireland is seeking to grow international markets.

ATUC spokesperson Tony Lambert said: “These work stoppages will have a direct impact on business commuters flying internationally trying to win market share for Ireland, companies depending on cargo flights for importing and exporting, while also impacting on tourists attempting to fly to Ireland to spend much needed money in our economy.

“The aviation industry is a cyclical business. All airlines are already experiencing dropping passenger numbers and any action which forces airlines to cancel additional flights will only add to this pain.

“The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) relies on high volumes of flights and passenger numbers for its revenue and today’s action by its workers will only serve to undermine their own revenue base.

“Whether today’s action is about individuals refusing to co-operate with new technology or about workers looking for pay increases at a time when many others have had to accept pay cuts in order to keep their jobs, these work stoppages are deeply frustrating and completely unhelpful to Ireland at this challenging time.”

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