Half of Russian flight dispatchers have been put on forced leave as Western sanctions hit the country’s travel industry, a labor union official said.
Sergei Kovalyov, the president of Russia’s Federal Union of Air Traffic Controllers, made the statement in a complaint sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office earlier this week, Russian media reported.
Russia has about 30,000 air traffic controllers, meaning 15,000 have been furloughed.
Russia’s aviation industry – heavily dependent on Western technology and Western routes – has been among the hardest hit by sweeping sanctions triggered by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The United States and its allies have banned the sale of aircraft and aircraft parts to Russia, while the EU has banned Russia from using its airspace.
Russia has a tradition of cutting hours rather than firing workers to reduce labor costs during an economic crisis.
Forced leave can last from days to months with workers receiving two-thirds of their base salary, according to Russian law.
About 135,000 Russian workers were on forced leave, Labor Minister Anton Kotyakov said in June.
Many of them are from the Russian auto industry, which was almost at a standstill in May due to sanctions.
Russian part-time workers receive only two-thirds