Spanish Air Strike Update: August 2010

Air traffic controllers vote to go ahead with 3-day strike starting August 18th but talks continue to try and avert union action

UPDATE!

UPDATE: the planned strike has been averted. See the article on GoTimeshare.org for more information:

Ryanair has asked the Spanish government to help ease the effects of the Spanish air traffic controller strike which, if it goes ahead, will start August 18th and last three days.

The strikers are protesting at government plans to change their work hours and reduce overtime pay and more than 2,000 nationally have voted for the strike which could affect some two million passengers (many Spanish workers take their holidays in August and the strike couldn’t come at a busier time).

The dispute with the Spanish government has dragged on since February, when overtime hours and controllers’ pay were slashed. According to some reports, some controllers were earning as much as £290,000 a year, more than the Spanish prime minister Mr. Zapatero earns, and the government wants to increase their hours and shorten their rest breaks.

Now Ryanair is calling for standardised pan-European air traffic control following recent action by French air traffic control staff. The airline is suggesting that if strikers in Spain, for example, took action, disruption could be minimised by having controllers in other countries handling the air traffic until strike action ended.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “Air transport and tourism are vital to the Spanish economy and the Government must ensure that Spanish airports remain open during strikes by calling on the military to provide air traffic control services … this happens in many other European countries when strikes threaten air transport.

“[The threatened] Spanish air traffic control strikes and the industrial action taken by French ATC workers in recent weeks highlight the urgent need for a standardised Europe-wide system of air traffic control to ensure that striking air traffic controllers in one country do not hold the travelling public to ransom.”

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