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Government Considers Extending State Of Alert

Source: El Pais - Mon 13th Dec 2010

The government has not made any decision as yet with regards to any extention of the state made following the wildcat strike by air traffic controllers last weekend. The majority are though to be in favour of a continuation of the current situation as a measure to prevent controllers from carrying out similar strikes up to and over the Christmas period.

A decision is due to be made today following an assessment of the work-readiness of controllers which has been submitted by the Public Works Ministry. It is believed that the report recommends that the state of alert should remain.

Earlier today the Minister for Public Works, José Blanco, spoke on the Cadena Ser radio station confirming that "the instigators of the sabotage have yet to see the full consequences of the damage caused." He continued that "the vast majority of controllers want to work and do their duty, but on many occasions they are coerced by a group that directs and coordinates them. The government will guarantee air services at Christmas and every day of the year."

If the Cabinet decides to prolong the state of alert - under which the Ministry of Defense is ultimately responsible for overseeing Spain's airspace and controllers are supervised by the military - the Prime Minister will call a Cabinet meeting this afternoon to lay out the conditions under which the state of alert would be continued.

However, the Ministry of Defense would prefer to maintain military control of Spanish airspace, without time limit, but to see the state of alert come to an end.

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