If you are planning a vacation to Spain, plan it carefully as partial strikes of the local air traffic controllers are taking place.
The members of the Union Sindical de Controladores Aereos (USCA) are representative of 90 percent of the Spain’s local air traffic controllers. The USCA urged the members to actively participate in partial strikes as a protest against Spain’s Enaire refusal to engage in further talks that could resolve a dispute started back in 2010.
The walkouts of the staffers are planned for June 8th, June 10th, June 12th and June 14th. Of course, these are unfortunate events that will disrupt businesses and flights and most probably a lot of plans, yet the organizers see it as the only way to draw attention of the public and shift Enaire’s position towards more cooperation.
In 2010 Enaire fined 61 air traffic controllers after a strike made Barcelona’s airspace fully non-operational. The shutdown led to the first national emergency state since 1978, when Spain became a democratic country.
The fine in a total amount of one month’s wage was accompanied by the decision to suspend 59 of the 61 air traffic controllers that went on the 24 hour strike in 2010. Nonetheless, the suspension was seemingly postponed as the air traffic segment is severely understaffed.
The new strikes scheduled for the four days mentioned above were set to begin in March. The unfortunate Germanwings crash delayed the plans to June.
The spokeswoman of USCA, Susana Romero commented for the press that this is an indication that the local air traffic controllers do care about their jobs and understand the implications of a strike.
Consequently, they are organizing short activity stoppages. A continuous four-day strike would severely harm the industry and a segment of the population. Nonetheless, she added:
“It’s the last option left open to us. We can’t have workers paying when those responsible are hiding in their offices.”
Overall, it is expected that 1,300 flights will suffer the consequences on the first scheduled day according to Enaire. A Daily Mail report calculated that at the Palma Mallorca Airport, 450,000 passengers will be affected by the strike.
If Enaire were willing to the return to the negotiation table with USCA, that would meet demands half way. Yet, no further talks are scheduled for the time being.
USCA is still hopeful that the gesture of Spain’s air traffic controllers will not go unnoticed when so much is at stake.
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