People affected by strike set to appeal case against controllers

A GROUP of people affected by the air traffic controllers’ strikes in December last year, has requested that the 14 controllers in Malaga should be investigated further.

The Group of Plaintiffs Affected by the Air Space Closure, which represents some 800 people in Malaga, plans to appeal the decision of a local court to provisionally shelve the case against the controllers who failed to come to work on December 3 and 4, 2010, claiming that they were ill.

Their lawyer, Luis Vericat, has said they wish to appear as the private accusation and want the sick leave notes they provided to be checked out. Vericat explained that ATCs fill out a form and a sworn declaration when they are off work, and that these, and the medical reports, can be looked into.

He also pointed out that in other parts of Spain, cases against the controllers are going ahead, and expressed his surprise over the Malaga judge deciding not to do so.

“The judge reports that all the controllers presented sick notes on the same day, which just happened to be at the same time the strikes were taking place throughout Spain, but this is not enough for him to conclude that it was intentional”. “Just the controllers leaving their positions on mass, is enough to constitute a crime” he said. “It is impossible for anyone to think that 450 controllers throughout Spain all report sick on the same days”.

Meanwhile, the President of the Tourism Council of the Andalucian Business Confederation, Miguel Sanchez, said he hoped that the 14 controllers would not go without punishment. He mentioned the damages that their actions caused to Malaga tourism industry, as well as the economic losses for hotels, restaurants, shops and other sectors, and the poor image of Spain and the Costa del Sol which was given to the rest of the world.

He says that they should face the consequences of their actions to stop them from taking similar measures in the future.

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