Saturday, December 4, 2010

Air controllers surprise strike forces Spanish government to call the Air Force

Yesterday air controllers took leave on health grounds. One after another, about 70% of them did (per official figures) in what is obviously a camouflaged strike (done that way surely in order to avoid the imposition of minimum services which are often abusive). 

Soon Spain's air traffic was halted through the state... right at the beginning of a long holiday (a puente or "bridge" spanning through this weekend and the holidays at 6th and 8th of December). The air space of the whole state had to be closed.

As reaction, the government called an emergency cabinet, which included representation from the military. Then it issued a "state of alarm" decree for 15 days allowing the Air Force to take over the civilian airports. It also implies that all air controllers are mobilized under military discipline and they can face military charges if they disobey orders. 

However, while about half of all controllers have arrived to their jobs today, they are refusing to work, again on health grounds. 

The situation is uncertain but again underlines the key importance of workers, specially those in strategic sectors, to totally stop the Capitalist economy. That is our most powerful weapon: strike until they bow to our demands, demands that are generally fully justified.

The strike seems to be aimed against a law that overwrote the sectoral agreements between controllers and the company AENA, forcing controllers to make many extra hours and lose income. This law, without precedents, is putting air transport at risk and has been strongly criticized by the European union  of the sector (ATCEUC).

Refs. Gara (yesterday, today)[es]

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