Madrid has announced that it plans to reduce Canarian airport taxes … and to pay for it by reducing the salaries of air traffic controllers, whom it blames for much of the recent chaos in the islands’ airports.
The announcement was made by Government Minister José Blanco, who met with the Canarian president Paulino Rivero specifically to discuss the numerous incidents that have caused problems for travellers over recent weeks. Sr Blanco stressed that he shared the concerns of the Canarian authorities for the effects of the recent strike, for strike it was in all but name, particularly in respect of the potential damage to the Canarian economy.
The Minister said that it was a no-brainer to be faced with a choice between defending the privileges of a few or the general interests of Spain. The reduction in airport taxes is seen as essential to increase competitivity and incentivise the arrival of visitors, given that tourism is a fundamental sector of the islands’ economy. Measures will also be considered to make it more difficult for such industrial action to be taken in the future.
The air traffic controllers’ union predictably said that workers’ salaries had nothing to do with airport taxes, and that it was “surprised” by the two being linked. It might yet be, however, that the strikes, which caused misery to many over what should have been a joyful holiday period, will backfire in a way which hits the strikers where it hurts the most, and they could find that they quite literally pay for the difficulties they’ve caused. La Opinion