Romanian air controllers strike

Workers protest long-delayed contract

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romanian air traffic controllers went on a two-hour strike at Bucharest's main airport on Wednesday, delaying dozens of flights, to protest against their employer's failure to approve a long-delayed labour contract.

In their first such protest, around 600 workers at the Romatsa traffic services company suspended work from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Their union wants Romatsa to scrap plans to boost employment in the administrative area and to lower the retirement age of controllers to 55 years from 65, Andreias Paduraru, secretary of the union ATSR told Reuters.

"Imagine an old person directing flights - it will be dangerous if such an age rule is kept. We only want Romania to align to the European average," Paduraru said.

The Bucharest airport administration said 22 landings and 18 takeoffs had been scheduled during the strike. According to law, Romatsa has to ensure a third of the scheduled traffic.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta told his cabinet ministers at the start of their weekly meeting the transport minister's key task would be to "solve the Romatsa problem ... it isn't normal to upset passengers."

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