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Threat of further chaos at Spanish airports

Mon 2th Aug 2010

Spanish air traffic controllers have threatened strike action in response ot what it calls 'Government provocation', claiming that it is the only way to confront the Government and defend their jobs and ‘dignity'.

This has been largey caused by the Ministry for Development's enforced 40% reduction in their salaries, taking it down to an average 200,000 € a year. On Friday the Government issued a royal decree, inspired on British legislation, which grants 30 minutes rest every two hours and limits a working week to a maximum of 50 hours. The controllers believe that these new measures have been designed to sabotage current negociations.

The USCA, Air Traffic Controllers Union, are to call a national assembly to debate and vote on a strike call on Tuesday.

An inspection by the Social Security concluded that 66% of the air traffic controllers who had claimed to be ill, had to return to work. The Ministry for Development claims the controllers at the El Prat airport in Barcelona were carrying out an illegal strike.

Meanwhile the airport on the Canary Island of La Gomera has become the first in Spain to operate without any air traffic controllers. Computers will now cope with the two flights a day to and from Tenerife which the airport has to handle.

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