The controllers say the Single European Sky (SES) project will affect public safety and their working conditions.
The European Commission, which drafts EU laws, estimates that inefficiencies in the way Europe's air traffic is managed add 42km (26 miles) to the average flight.
It wants to centralise air-traffic controls, rather than leave each member state to monitor its own skies. The commission says this could triple the region's airspace capacity, cut costs and reduce delays.
'Violation of sovereignty'Under the plan, the many national air traffic control systems would be merged into nine Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs), with a new European network manager being given authority for route planning.
But France's main controllers' union, the USAC-CGT, says the plans are "a direct attack on the public service nature of this sector" and a step toward privatisation.
It says the changes constitute a "violation of national sovereignty" and will have an negative impact on working conditions.
In April, the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF), which is backing the action, criticised what it said was a "never ending process of liberalisation, deregulation and cost cutting" in the air traffic management industry.
Controllers are "suffering from a performance scheme dominated by a never-ending cost reduction and in which safety is not considered to be the first priority", said ETF political secretary Francois Ballestero.
The main point that the European Commission is try to explain, it's the huge ineffiency of the system compared to the United States, here below you can find an interesting analysis done by CAPA:
SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY: DOES SES NEED ANOTHER SOS AS THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION TRIES AGAIN?
The analysis conclusion is: Today, there are some nine million flights cross the European airspace and this has roughly doubled over the past 20 years. Eurocontrol forecasts a further 50% increase over the next 10-20 years. The goals of the Single European Sky include an improvement in safety by a factor of 10, a 10% reduction in aviation’s environmental impact, a 50% reduction in air traffic management costs and a three-fold increase in capacity. This is crucial if Europe wants to keep pace with forecast growth in aviation.The governments of France and Germany have spoken out against the SES2+ package. In spite of this and industrial action by air traffic controllers, who are worried that a more efficient system may threaten their jobs, European member states must find a way to implement the Single European Sky.