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World air controllers spare Us

By With Analysis From Monitor Correspondents around the world, Edited by Clara Germani / August 24, 1981



Schiphol, the Netherlands

Leaders of the world's air traffice controllers expressed concern at the safety of US airspace but announced no action in support of striking US controllers.

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The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations ended a two-day meeting by accusing the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Line Pilots Association of issuing statements on the safety of US airspace which were "calculated to mislead the public and supported by incomplete statistics. "The federation was to release details of reported incidents and near-misses to back its claim that the US system as currently operated was unsafe.

It called for reopening of bargaining between the US government and controllers. As for an international action in support of striking US controllers, a spokesman said, "Members are autonomous and might act individually."

The president sacked 12,000 controllers' union members after their pay strike began Aug. 3, and it has cut US domestic flights by a quarter.

Meanwhile, in Tampa, Fla., Monitor contributor Gil Klein reports that the International machinists and Aerospace Workers union has offered a plan for a solution to the dispute. After Eastern Airlines said the slowdown in business would be counterbalanced by pay cuts of 6 to 10 percent and 3,000 layoffs at the end of the summer -- 1,500 more than usual at that time of year -- the union suggested a congressional panel negotiate a settlement with the rehiring of all controllers fired.