GABATCO waiting to discuss salaries again

Guild of Antigua & Barbuda Air Traffic Controllers
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GABATCO waiting to discuss salaries again

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Jan 20, 2009 ... 9&ac=Local

GABATCO Chairman Wesley Joseph.

GABATCO waiting to discuss salaries again
Monday January 19 2009
by Deborah Browne Wills

The Guild of Antigua & Barbuda Air Traffic Control Officers (GABATCO) is continuing negotiations with the government to agree to the finer points of the employment contracts.

According to GABATCO Chairman Wesley Joseph, travel allowances, uniforms and the miscellaneous items regarding the contracts have been agreed upon. However, the question of salaries remains a major sticking point.

A meeting scheduled for last Friday was postponed because Minister of Finance Dr. Errol Cort flew to Washington last Tuesday to attend negotiations on Internet gaming. It is felt strongly by GABATCO that the minister’s presence at the meeting is essential, particularly as he has attended the previous two meetings.

The contract renewal, Joseph said, is long overdue and salary is an area of some contention. “As air traffic controllers we consider ourselves underpaid for our responsibility and the nature of the job. We think that government should have a look at our salaries and adjust to reflect the nature and responsibility of air traffic.

“Unlike a pilot who is in command of his aircraft, the air traffic controller has to juggle many aircraft and at times there is a high volume of traffic.” Joseph said adding that air traffic control staff tend to work in the shadows and hence are not credited for the stressful work they do.

“It is not a job where you sit or crunch numbers. In air traffic, if you have a problem you have to deal with it right there or it may lead to disaster. There is no room for error and that is the kind of stress that we work under and it’s a lot of mental work” Joseph said.

The meeting has been rescheduled and should take place later today.

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