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Air traffic controllers to go on strike

AIR TRAFFIC controllers in Slovakia plan to strike on Thursday to demand the dismissal of Roman Bíro, the director of the state-run air traffic control administrator, Letové Prevádzkové Služby (LPS).

The controllers claim that Bíro is responsible for deteriorating standards of air safety, and say they are concerned that the lives of airline passengers are at risk.

However, if the air traffic controllers go on strike, the Transport Ministry says it will consider the strike illegal and will claim any damages that may arise. Transport Minister Ľubomír Vážny said he rejects the charge that passengers are at risk.

Vážny noted that an air traffic safety inspection carried out last year found that Slovakia meets air traffic standards and that minor defects in safety have been removed.

The minister said he suspects that air traffic controllers are using safety concerns as a pretext to gain advantages for themselves. At an average wage of Sk200,000 per month, Vážny said, air traffic controllers have no reason to be dissatisfied with their salaries.

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