Controllers call off strike

LAST UPDATED: 10 Jan, 2011 @ 17:59
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Controllers call off strike

By Wendy Williams

HOLIDAYMAKERS can breathe a sigh of relief with the news Spain’s air traffic controllers have called off their strike to avoid hurting Spanish Tourism.

After a four hour meeting and a chorus of disapproval from Spain’s tourist industry and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the UNSCA union has vowed to put their walk out on hold, at least for August.

According to UNSCA spokesman Cesar Cabo, they do not want to further undermine the country’s troubled tourism industry.

He said: “The union understands the concerns of the tourism sector and passengers”.

Spain’s tourism industry has been especially hard hit by the recession with its overall visitor numbers falling for the third year in a row.

With the added uncertainty in recent weeks, last-minute bookings have really suffered.

And tourism and airline officials feared visitor numbers could fall even more after talks between the two sides broke down.

But now, according to a statement issued by the chairman of AENA, they are pleased with the decision and will resume talks with the aim of reaching an agreement “as soon as possible”.

He added: “We would have liked the decision to be definitive and not just for the month of August.”

While air traffic controllers have called off the strike for this month they could still take action in September which would bring us back to square one.

According to IATA Director General, Giovanni Bisignani, a strike would threaten Spain’s fragile recovery.

He said: “This is not the time for strikes.

“Arbitration is a fair, open and balanced means to settle the differences between AENA and the air traffic controllers. And it would avoid debilitating disruption to Spain’s economy.”

For now at least, the action is postponed while negotiations resume.

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