Air controllers strike through weekend

ON possibly the busiest weekend of the year, strikes have been called by air traffic controllers in Spain for July 25 and 26.

However, these strikes will be partial and have been scheduled to take place in blocks of three hours, between 10am and 1pm Saturday, and from 7pm to 8pm Sunday.

The strikes have been called by the Air Controllers Trade Union (USCA) in order to pressure the authorities into addressing the case of 61 controllers from Barcelona who were penalised in 2010 after closing down air space.

They have also demanded the reinstatement of another controller in Santiago who was dismissed as a consequence.

After an unsuccessful meeting with company Enaire, USCA announced on Thursday 23, that their refusal to hear their petitions has forced the trade union to maintain it’s strike calls. USCA threatened that the upcoming strikes will be made stricter toward the end of the summer.

However, the minimum services imposed by the Development Ministry of at least 80 per cent and the experience of past strikes indicate that they will not interfere with flights to a high degree, or change the usual functioning of air space movements.

A total of 12,245 flights have been scheduled for this weekend, 2,155 coinciding with strike hours.

The USCA have also claimed that the 80 per cent minimum services imposed represent a violation of worker’s rights to go on strike, and are in stark contrast with the 50 per cent minimum imposed by the French government for their controllers back in July, and 33 per cent by Romanian authorities on July 15.

Despite the small impact that this year’s strikes have caused to flights, the Air Lines Association (ALA) has reiterated that the serious events that occurred in 2010 are still fresh in the memory of users. Between December 3 and 4, the strikes affected at least 600,000 passengers and was believed to have caused losses of €500 million.  

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