Air Controller’s Mutiny in Brazil Shuts All Airports in the Country

    Passengers stuck in Brazilian airports wait for end of negotiations

    Passengers stuck in Brazilian airports wait for end of negotiations An unprecedented rebellion by Brazil's air traffic controllers, most of them military, paralyzed this Friday, March 30, all 49 commercial airports in the country. According to Infraero, Brazil's airport authority, no plane was being allowed to take off. The air control towers were only letting incoming air traffic.

    The rebellious flight controllers told the Cindacta-1 (Brazilian capital Brasí­lia central control tower) brass that their strike would continue and all incoming and outgoing traffic would stop entirely until the authorities negotiated with them. The work stoppage  started at 6:44 pm in Brasí­lia.

    Cindacta-1 is an important control center, which monitors flights for the most important air hubs in the country in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Espí­rito Santo, among others. The controllers' action left thousands of passengers stranded in airports.

    With President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva out of the country for a meeting with Bush this weekend in Camp David, acting president José Alencar, rushed back from Belo Horizonte to Brasí­lia. He only was able to fly after getting special clearance from the Air Force leadership.

    Still on the air on his way to Washington, Lula intervened in the crisis to avoid that some air controllers be taken to jail as was the Air Force top command's wish.

    The Military Public Prosecutor's Office had already issued arrest orders against 18 flight controllers, who were charged with mutiny. The Justice Military prosecutor, Ione de Souza Cruz, was on her way to make the arrests when came word that Lula had decided that they should negotiate with the insubordinate controllers.

    It was already Saturday, when the Brazilian government announced that it had reached an agreement with the controllers. Apparently they won all their main demands including no punishment for the rebels and a demilitarization – at least partial -  of the sector. The government also promised to raise their salaries.

    Brazilian Planning Minister, Paulo Bernardo, arrived at the Cindacta-1's headquarters to negotiate with the controllers and try to get them back to work at about 11 pm. He was accompanied by brigadier Ramon Cardoso, the Air Force's Air Space Control Department director.

    Besides the Air Force Commander, Juniti Saito, other ministers got involved in the negotiations including Social Communication's Minister, Franklin Martins; Institutional Security Minister, Jorge Armando Félix and the presidency's Chief of Staff, Gilberto Carvalho.

    Among the controllers' demands were better working conditions, higher wages and the category's demilitarization. About 80% of the country's air controllers are military men today.

    The rebellion started Friday morning, as a response to the transfer of sergeant Edleuzo Souza Cavalcanti, an air-controller leader, from Brasí­lia to Santa Maria in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. To protest this relocation over 100 of his colleagues at Cindacta -1, Brasí­lia's air control center, went into a hunger strike. In Mato Grosso state a group of air controllers soon joined the movement staging a work to rule campaign.

    Flying in Brazil has been problematic since September 29 when a Boeing 737 collided with a Legacy executive jet killing all 154 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing over the Amazon rainforest. Since then Brazil has faced several chaotic situations in the airports during times of increased air traffic like All Souls Day holiday, Christmas and Carnaval.

    Defense Minister, Waldir Pires, said Friday afternoon that a democratic state could not become hostage of anybody. "There is no negotiation with the controllers," he stated at the time, while saying that he recognized that their demands were "legitimate." It just took a few hours before his no-negotiation warning was trampled by the facts.

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    • Show Comments (20)

    • bo

      [quote]written by by a brazilian, 2007-04-02 02:23:31

      Bo thereˢ۪s nothing in this article above that would lead a half intelligent person to misconstrue the present situation with that of the air tragedy above the Amazon skies.[/quote]

      Oh, sorry Abe, [b]this[/b] article didn’t state that the CPI was being archived, this one did.

      [quote]Ethics

      We are not arguing here the right the government has to get a majority in Congress, especially if it can manage to achieve it without bribes, mensalÀƒ£o (big monthly allowance) or sanguessugas (bloodsuckers).

      The work of rearranging the cabinet goes on, but the congressional support to the executive is already guaranteed as have shown the Constitution and Justice Commission meetings in the Lower House confirmed by the whole House encounter. [b]And in case the Supreme doesn’t bring any surprise they have already buried the congressional inquiry (CPI) on Brazil’s chaotic air traffic.[/b]

      This is not a matter of majority, but of ethics. [b]Why has Lula made such an effort to block the CPI? After all, investigating the causes of Brazil’s airports chaos and searching the reasons behind the Gol Boeing’s September disaster would only do good to the institutions.[/b]

      It is not, for certain, a vanity matter, based in “I command and you obey”. [b]There are those who think the government is trying to prevent probes into the Infraero, the Brazilian airport authority, due to overbilling that occurred during the work to improve airports, something that the government’s Audit Court is looking into, right now.[/b]

      Others suggest that the president doesn’t wish to open wounds at the Air Force, which is, after all, the Force in charge of Brazil’s militarized air control.

      It doesn’t matter the reason behind the dodging. The administration has missed an excellent chance to contribute to the institutional betterment.

      And if the government has a majority in the Constitution and Justice Commission as well as the whole House, it wouldn’t run the risk of being defeated in the investigations. It was a missed excellent opportunity to demonstrate impartiality, greatness and public spirit.

      Carlos Chagas is a veteran Brazilian journalist who writes for the Rio’s daily Tribuna da Imprensa[/quote]

      https://www.brazzil.com/content/view/9846/80/#jc_allComments

      And this incident in this article, the strike carried out by the ATC’s, isn’t only about money, it’s about their working conditions in their entirety. It’s about being understaffed, underpaid, and overworked. It’s about letting ATC’s that are basically interns actually working as fully trained ATC’s. Any human being that would believe, that at a minimum, the ATC system that is in place here in brazil currently, as well as communication error by the ATC on the night of the accident, didn’t contribute greatly in the Gol accident happening, is just another blind “Abe Razillion”.

    • bo

      [quote]Bo, are you this stupid?
      written by by a brazilian, 2007-04-02 02:23:31

      Bo thereˢ۪s nothing in this article above that would lead a half intelligent person to misconstrue the present situation with that of the air tragedy above the Amazon skies. The present situation is a unionized maneuver for better wages. As intelligently noted by Mr. aes this could actually be a good thing, at this juncture in the Brazilian history. Pires for once is right in saying what he said.[/quote]

      A brazilian, you’ve already proved your bigotry, racism, and ignorance, time and time again. For a person to state repeatedly that racism doesn’t exist in brazil, and then to call people the “N” word that literally incited some posters to stop posting on this site, well, that says it all.

      Now, you were one that was boasting, “let them finish their investigation!” And now what Abe?? They’re archiving it!!! What does that tell you?? The brazilian gov’t. already made a deal with the ATC’s that none of them would be held legally responsible! What to hell is that?? Why didn’t they make the same deal with the americans? Why don’t they continue the CPI and make the results public?? You, I, and everyone with half a brain knows why! Because they began to find out exactly how full of holes the ATC system is here in brazil. They well know that if they continue the investigation and make the findings public that the entire world will see just how incompetent, not to mention liars and deniars of reality, the brazilian military and in particular your Mr. Pires is.

      Fuck public safety, fuck the truth, fuck finding out the underlying causes to the accident and correcting the mistakes so they won’t happen again, fuck the families of those that died, they don’t deserve to know the truth, n’eh Abe?? Let’s just blame it on the americans, it’s convenient, and a lot of our “frothing” citizens will just love it! Once again, brazil proves itself over and over to be a country chock full ‘O corruption. As long as we don’t appear incompetent, [b]lmao[/b]. Now just what do you think that every single person on planet earth that has been following this situation thinks now???

    • Roberrrrt

      Where were you??? Piece of shit?????
      “Where the f**k are they? Why aren’t they responding here? I want to know if they’re aware of this! Will they now admit that they’re gov’t. is full of lying, corrupt, reality-denying pieces of s**t? “

      (They) are here you fucking piece of shit. I am ready to teach your racist bigot ass a lesson ANYWHERE ANYTIME, and guess what, the next time you don’t show up I ‘m dragging your ass out of your home or car.
      Good Day!

    • by a brazilian

      Bo, are you this stupid?
      Bo thereˢ۪s nothing in this article above that would lead a half intelligent person to misconstrue the present situation with that of the air tragedy above the Amazon skies. The present situation is a unionized maneuver for better wages. As intelligently noted by Mr. aes this could actually be a good thing, at this juncture in the Brazilian history. Pires for once is right in saying what he said.

    • bo

      [quote]written by artfrick, 2007-04-01 16:15:53

      What is happening in front of our eyes is the result of bad administration by the Militaries. The government is also to blame as corruption is widespread. As a notion Brazil has the right to know why our equipment are obsolete and funds are witheld. [b]We are hearing that an investigation is in order which will clarify this accident which resulted in 154 death.[/quote][/b]

      Yep, and now it is [b]BURIED![/b] What I want to know, where are the ignorant flag-waving brazilians that were willing to hang the american pilots now???

      Where the fuck are they? Why aren’t they responding here? I want to know if they’re aware of this! Will they now admit that they’re gov’t. is full of lying, corrupt, reality-denying pieces of shit?

    • João da Silva

      TO:artfrick/Josue
      Boas colocaÀƒ§Àƒµes.

    • Josue

      Why Does the Minister of Defense Still Have his Job?
      It is incredible that the unqualified Minister of Defense, Mr. Pires, still has his job after six months of chaos in the airports. It seems that being a friend of the president speaks more than being technically and professionally proficient in this case.

    • artfrick

      LET US NAME THE GUILTS
      What is happening in front of our eyes is the result of bad administration by the Militaries. The government is also to blame as corruption is widespread. As a notion Brazil has the right to know why our equipment are obsolete and funds are witheld. We are hearing that an investigation is in order which will clarify this accident which resulted in 154 death. There was an attempt to blame the American pilots. It is of course a balance, between the Executive, Legislative, Judicial and the Military branches of Brazillian government. Economic rationality, is the governing principal of business. If Brazil is to be considered a global economy, it must behave as one, with all the economic acumen that is available to it.

    • ch.c.

      And a secret backstage deal was signed……..
      ….that NOOOO ATC will be held responsible for the plane tragedy !!!!

      Lula said….obvious……as usual…..a deal is a deal !!!!!!!

    • João da Silva

      To:Bo,AES & others
      reproduzing a comment I read in Terra:

      [quote]Parte dos controladores de voo sÀƒ£o militares e outros sÀƒ£o civis. A AeronÀƒ¡utica
      deve manter apenas controladores militares e manter o ordem militar onde
      um manda e o resto obedece e que por mais absurdo que pareÀƒ§a, Àƒ© a Àƒºnica forma
      das ForÀƒ§as Militares se manterem.
      Os militares que desobederam as ordens e fizeram paralisaÀƒ§Àƒ£o devem ser punidos
      severamente.
      O militarismo sÀƒ³ funciona dessa forma no mundo inteiro e Àƒ© fundamental para
      uma NaÀƒ§Àƒ£o
      [/quote]

      I tend to agree with this person. BTW, the first person to be fired should be Waldir Pires and the next one the President of ANAC. These two seem to be “LOST”. May be they were on board that ill fated Oceanic Air flight from Sydney to L.A and got lost on that mysterious Island.

    • Brazeagle

      “THE BRAZILIAN AIR SPACE SAGA REALLY CONTINUES”
      I was writing my comments in the previous GOL ACCIDENT FORUM, about having a completely unorganized system and deficient air space control?
      Well, after all, safety is for all and our government does not take it serious, I call this episode À¢€œBLOOD PRIORITY” people start moving their wild cards only after blood is eminent.
      Mid 1980À¢€™s, I was there, CINDACTA, and we already had problems, it was just the beginning…
      I hope Brazil does something about this before another occurrence.
      Fly safe and leave those American fellow pilots alone.
      IT IS OUR FAULT, it is not a matter of blaming anyone, it is just a matter of RESPONSABILITY
      SAFETY IS FOR ALL
      POWER ATTITUDE = PERFORMANCE
      ATTITUDE KNOWLEDGE = SAFETY

    • steven engel

      flights
      does anyone know if the planes are taking off today

    • aes

      ‘a peril to national safety’
      It is apparent that there is a need of intelligent legal reform in Brazil. That a separation between private, military and national security interests must be established by Law and that it is only through Law that Brazil will achieve the stability, order and global confidence, that is ncecessary to transcend to the new global economic dimension that Brazil is in transition to. The loss of millions of dollars as a consequence of this event does not equal the paultry economic demands by the controllers. There is an old English expression ‘penny wise and pound foolish’. What is the point of being right if as a consequence you fail the purpose of your ‘right-nesss’? It is of course a balance, between the Executive, Legislative, Judicial and M. ilitary branches of Brazillian government. Economic rationality, is the governing principal of business. If Brazil is to be considered a global economy, it must behave as one, with all the economic acumen that is available to it. Brazil is teetering on transition. The following is a model for consideration:

      August 3, 1981 the union declared a strike, seeking better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweek. In doing so, the union technically violated a law {5 U.S.C. (Supp. III 1956) 118p.} that banned strikes by government unions. However, several government unions (including one representing employees of the Postal Service) had declared strikes in the intervening period without penalties. Ronald Reagan, however, declared the PATCO strike a “peril to national safety” and ordered them back to work under the terms of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Only 1,200 of the more than 12,000 controllers returned to work[citation needed]. PATCO thought it could cause the national air system to grind to a halt and use that as a bargaining tool. Reagan gave union members 48 hours to return, knowing that Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis had secretly trained replacements and the airplanes kept flying at 80% of normal[citation needed].

      On August 5, following their refusal, Reagan fired the 11,359 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored the order, and permanently banned them from federal service. They were replaced initially with nonparticipating controllers, supervisors, staff personnel, some nonrated personnel, and in some cases by controllers transferred temporarily from other facilities. Some military controllers were also used until replacements could be trained. It proved the most stunning defeat for unions in 60 years. While some former controllers were subsequently rehired, they and their replacements are now represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, which was organized in 1987 and has no direct connection with PATCO.

    • Ric

      I think this came as a surprise, I was with pilots in the airport at Teresina on Thursday and no one had any idea this was coming.

      The strike in the states, the president of the controllers union promised to send me his book, met him in Oshkosh, still waiting, he fully expected that they would all be rehired. Some were, later, but most were not. Reagan took a lot of heat for that action, few politicians are willing to get tough and fight it out these days.

      The Infraero scandal in this weekÀ‚´s Isto Àƒ‰ doesnÀ‚´t bode well either but I think that in a year or two they will get things normalized. Whatever that means.

    • bo

      Check out this link…
      http://video.globo.com/Videos/Player/Noticias/0,,GIM659095-7823-PASSAGEIRO AGRIDE FUNCIONARIA DA BRA NO AEROPORTO TOM JOBIM,00.html

      What is the problem with brazilians when it comes to travelling?? Put them in a car, and they’re lunatics, put them in an airport and cancel their flight, and they want to kick someone’s ass, funny. 😉

    • bo

      [quote]written by aes, 2007-03-31 11:09:49

      Ronald Regan fired all the air controlers. Though it is only similar it is interesting, because it marked the end of the arrogance of unionism and the begining of social responsibility. That single point market a profound turning point in the economic history of the U.S.[/quote]

      Wouldn’t count on the same thing happening in brazil aes, unfortunately.

    • bob

      The Same people
      These are the same group that blamed the airline crash on the American pilots
      I think we all know the cause now. Crash an airline to get a raise in pay. Only in Brazil

    • aes

      Ronald Regan fired all the air controlers in’80
      Ronald Regan fired all the air controlers. Though it is only similar it is interesting, because it marked the end of the arrogance of unionism and the begining of social responsibility. That single point market a profound turning point in the economic history of the U.S.

    • bo

      [quote]Defense Minister, Waldir Pires, said Friday afternoon that a democratic state could not become hostage of anybody. “There is no negotiation with the controllers,” he stated at the time, while saying that he recognized that their demands were “legitimate.” It just took a few hours before his no-negotiation warning was trampled by the facts.[/quote]

      I think it was a plot orchestrated by the two american pilots! 😉

    • bo

      [quote]The Military Public Prosecutor’s Office had already issued arrest orders against 18 flight controllers, who were charged with mutiny.[/quote]

      Mutiny? LMAO! That’s a little harsh, don’t ya think? An air traffic controller, charged with mutiny. Oh my goodness, only in Brazil. 😀

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