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Air strike at Easter! PDF
Sunday, 06 March 2011 09:00

If you’re planning to fly in or out of Spain on Jueves Santo, the day before Good Friday, forget it. Workers at AENA, the Spanish Airports Authority, have called a one-day strike in protest at plans to privatise air traffic control.


For an update on this story click Airport strikes throughout Summer?


According to an article in the El Economista newspaper today - Los trabajadores de AENA anuncian una huelga para el Jueves Santo - the strike by AENA workers is in protest at the privatisation of air traffic control.  The government wants to hive off ATC at some airports to private companies! What!? That’s got to be a recipe for disaster! Don’t you remember the outcry in the UK when that was suggested a few years ago?  It’s ridiculous to compromise safety for the sake of cutting costs.

On that basis I support the right to strike about it.  And let’s be honest, for a strike to be effective it has to be noticed – no good doing it on a quiet day in March when hardly anybody’s flying.

If it was about greedy air traffic controllers, who already earn a fortune, striking for more pay, I would not support it, but this is different, I think, and something we should all support.

I realise it’s inconvenient for those people planning to travel on that date, but if you look at what happens in France when there’s a strike about an important point of principle, the French public tend to support it and muck in, and they get results that way because the government has to sit up and take notice!

What the airlines should do in this case is offer a free flight change to people with tickets for that date. They would earn themselves much needed good publicity.

Incidentally, I should have thought that the airlines were also against the privatisation of ATC, also on safety grounds.

Footnote: It’s amazing what risks the air authorities seem prepared to take with air travel. Did you hear that a quarter of Spanish ATCs’ (500 controllers) command of English doesn’t meet the required standard? That they were due to comply by 5 March, but the Spanish government passed a real decreto giving them a further 18 months to get up to scratch?

Read about it here: Clear to land! ¿Qué?


© Paul Whitelock

Tags:  one-day strike, privatisation air traffic control, air traffic controller, Jueves Santo, AENA, El Economista, right to strike, paul whitelock,


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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