Air Traffic Control (ATC) staff at Velana International Airport (VIA) have submitted a petition to the Maldives Airports Company Limited given that their concerns had remained unaddressed for three years.
90% of ATC staff at VIA, 50 employees in total, signed the petition. These make up 80% of ATC staff nationwide.
The ATC staff had said that they had conferred with several government institutions, one by one, in the effort of finding a solution to poor working conditions. They said that none of their concerns had been addressed in the past three years.
Their concerns were as follows:
Lack of promotions, or a framework for job advancement, despite having brought the issue to the attention of the President’s Office in 2019.
Absence of a framework to train new Air Traffic Controllers, resulting in lack of training opportunities.
Inability to address safety issues due to just culture, with an absence of a safety reporting system.
No opportunity for job continuation in instances where an employee is unfit for the job due to health conditions.
Lack of incentives for job retention.
Absence of a retirement structure for Air Traffic Controllers.
While the Ministry of Economic Development categorizes Air Traffic Controllers at the same level as pilots of doctors, the salaries are set lower than the latter occupations.
While none of these concerns had been addressed, the higher management of the MACL, including department heads, have received promotions in new amendments to the organization’s structure last month.
MACL employees had previously taken action regarding pilots’ pay. Pilots had spoken directly with the President and expressed their concerns.