Help from the military needed for Spanish air traffic control strike
August 5th, 2010 by elisa

The threat of strike action by Spanish Air Traffic Controllers has been criticised by airlines and travel companies. Ryanair has called on the Spanish government to intervene with help from the military to avoid too much disruption.

If the strike goes ahead it is expected to start on 18th August and last for three days, although the date and duration is still to be confirmed.

Over 2,000 controllers have voted in favour of industrial action in protest at government plans to change their working hours and reduce overtime pay. The Spanish government hope to maintain ‘minimum services’ which could be up to around 50% according to a report in the Telegraph.

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.

“Under a standardised Europe-wide air traffic control system, strikes would be covered by controllers in other countries – ensuring that passengers are not disrupted by the strike action of very well-paid ATC workers.”

In February the government cut Spanish controllers salaries by around 40% –  the average wage went from £290,000-a-year to £167,000. In Britain the same workers earn a basic salary of between £60,000 and £90,000-a-year, according to National Air Traffic Services.

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