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City of Banjul
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Air Traffic Controllers threaten to strike over allowances

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By Omar Bah

Air Traffic Controllers at the Banjul International Airport have threatened to embark on a sit-down strike over unpaid license rating allowance.

According to sources at the airport, the air traffic controllers are unhappy with Gambia Civil Aviation Authority’s refusal to give them license rating allowances as obtained in other airports.

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“The Gambian controllers are the only ones who are not paid their license rating allowance and they are the only controllers operating or controlling flights in the airspace without radar and other navigational aids to be able to separate flights safely and if they go on strike, no flight will land or take off in The Gambia,” a source informed The Standard.

The source added that GCAA staff have also not benefited from the government 30% salary increment.

The source alleged that the GCAA management continued to ignore technical issues while they were only focused on collecting the $20 from each passenger and even creating a new allowance for directors called retention allowance which caused the rejection of the authority’s budget.

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The grieving staff were expected to meet the GCAA management yesterday to find a solution on the matter.

Reaction

The Standard contacted the GCAA Director General, Fansu Bojang on Monday for comments. He sent a message to say he was going to call back but he never did. DG Bojang has not also responded to WhatsApp messages sent to him on the matter.

However, a senior staff at the GCAA told The Standard the allegations are false and that those staff are just a few disgruntled people who are hellbent on tarnishing the image of the management.

“If you ask them, none of them is holding a degree- they have just benefitted from two or three months training and they are calling themselves air traffic controllers. Who among them has gone for even six months training? Who among them? You can go for two weeks training and when you are back, they will hire you and you will become a license holder.  How can you pay every tom, dick and harry rating allowance? What happens is that the former DG was paying retention allowance to flight safety, airtel control and engineer departments. This is why I was against the decision because I knew others would pick on it and start creating issues for the management.”

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