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Air traffic controllers remain defiant

Published:Tuesday | June 25, 2013 | 2:16 PM

The island’s air traffic controllers remain defiant they will stick strictly to their job descriptions despite a warning from the labour ministry that they could be in breach of a court order.



The air traffic controllers are involved in a dispute with the government over wage and other conditions of service and began calling in sick on Saturday.



They were ordered by the Supreme Court to return to work yesterday, but vowed they would not perform duties outside of their contract.



However, in a release yesterday, the labour ministry advised that the court order against the members of the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association restrains them from any form of industrial action for 28 days.



The Ministry warned that action contemplated by members of the association, based on reports in the media, would represent a form of industrial action and constitute a breach of the court order.



However, president of the association, Kurt Solomon, says the ministry could find itself in an embarrassing situation as it appears to be uninformed about the issues.



Solomon insists he does not see how air traffic controllers can breach the court order by performing only the functions set out in their licences.



Solomon explains that in some cases air traffic controllers perform multiple functions at a time, even though the rules prohibit such situations.



He says this is because there is a serious shortage of air traffic controllers.



Currently there are about 94 air traffic controllers and Solomon says there needs to be at least 25 more.



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