Poland agrees to work demands of air traffic controllers

FILE - In this June 24, 2011 photo, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft standing next to a Polish Airlines LOT plane at the Frederic Chopin airport in Warsaw, Poland. Poland's air travel authorities are warning travelers of possible flight delays and cancellations at Warsaw's airport due to a protest and some flight controllers quitting their jobs. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz, File) (Alik Keplicz, AP2011)

WARSAW – Poland’s air navigation agency said Wednesday that it has agreed to implement all of the demands of the country’s air traffic controllers’ union, preventing the mass cancellation of flights in coming days.

Poland’s government announced plans earlier this week to drastically reduce flights at Warsaw’s two airports starting Sunday if talks with air traffic controllers demanding better working conditions failed.

The majority of air traffic controllers in Warsaw were threatening to quit their jobs on May 1 after a drawn-out conflict with Poland’s air navigation authority over working hours, pay and the authority’s financial transparency.

The Polish Air Navigation Services Agency announced late Wednesday that it had “accepted and agreed to implement all the demands” of the air traffic controllers union, the Polish news agency PAP reported.

The labor dispute started about two years ago with the appointment of a loyalist of Poland’s right-wing government as PANSA’s chief. Janusz Janiszewski increased the working hours and reduced the pay of air traffic controllers, arguing that traffic was much smaller during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As some controllers quit and some flights were delayed at Warsaw’s airports, Janiszewski was fired March 31. A state auditing body found issues with his management, Polish media reported.