Prosecutor Warns Air Traffic Controllers About Possible Charges

Novosibirsk region prosecutor Vladimir Tokarev warned local air traffic controllers at a Friday press conference that they would be charged for ignoring a court ruling if they continued their hunger strike. He reminded those present that on January 28th, an Ob city court had ruled in favour of a suit brought by the Novosibirsk prosecutor's office that the controllers' hunger strike was illegal and prohibited them from continuing their protest.

The prosecutor said that the controllers and their trade union leaders had broken the law, citing article 52 of the Air Code that states the air traffic controllers cannot strike or stop work in any other way to settle a work dispute. Tokarev said that hunger strikes were not forbidden by the law, but contested that the controllers' actions, i.e. refusing to eat to achieve a pay rise, amounted to a considered move to stop work.

The Ob court ruling on the illegality of the hunger strike has so far not come into legal force and will be appealed in the Novosibirsk regional court, leader of the Novosibirsk air traffic controllers' union Stanislav Dasmanov told RIA Novosti.