Update 11 August: After pressure from AENA, Government, IATA, and tourist authorities, all stressing the damage that even the threat of a strike could cause, and no doubt in some small part due to the very considerable offer on the table, the ATC Union USCA’s Executive Committee has decided, after a more than three-hour meeting, not to strike during August.
The Communication Secretary of the Union, César Cabo, said that despite AENA’s irresponsible attitude, the Union had decided to bring forward its meeting and had taken its decision to avoid uncertainty and damage to the tourist trade. Not that their action to date will not have had that effect, of course … C24H
Update 7 August: It appears that talks have broken down between AENA and the ATC unions, and that a strike is now likely from 21 August. The sticking point appears to have been that after a generous offer, AENA refused to continue negotiating while the unions were still threatening strike action.
ATC union USCA spokesman Daniel Zamit thinks AENA will come back to the table on Monday or Tuesday, and said that if they do not, the Executive Committee will meet on Wednesday to decide its position. If a strike goes ahead, said Sr Zamit, it will probably start on 21 August, allowing for the legally required 10 day period for notice of strike action. C24H
Update 5 August: Air traffic controllers say that an agreement might now be possible after certain “advances” were achieved in yesterday’s negotiations. Union reps say that talks will continue over the weekend to see if a solution can be thrashed out to avoid a strike that nobody wants. Apart from a stunning salary offer, AENA has also shown itself prepared to compromise on working shift changes and working hours. El Dia
Update 4 August: AENA has offered air traffic controllers an average annual salary of €200,000 fixed until 2013 on condition that they work “to full normality” and in a competitive framework, with reductions in absenteeism and greater efficiency. If they turn this down they want shooting … or at least sacking … C7
Original post 3 August: In a vote earlier today, Air Traffic Controllers voted with a massive 98% support for a strike. Legally, they have to give 10 days notice, so the strike will be effective from around 18-20 August.
More than 1,800 controllers from 49 centres voted on the strike, called after negotiations with Aena for a new agreement about rest periods reached deadlock. Aena itself says it remains “open to dialogue”. Daniel Zamit, spokesman for the ATC unions, said that a strike was the only solution given that anything is better than the current situation.
Government minister, José Blanco, expressed surprise about what he called a change of attitude on the part of the ATC unions, and stressed that in his opinion the new agreement represented a substantial improvement in the controllers’ working conditions. Sr Blanco said he would guarantee the movement of Spain’s air traffic if the strike were to go ahead, either with military controllers, or more likely, a skeleton service on the part of the controllers themselves. C24H