Decision on Spanish air traffic strike due Thursday

Spanish air traffic controllers will decide this Thursday whether to go ahead with a strike over working conditions.

The workers voted in favour of a strike last week over government changes to their working hours that reduce overtime pay.

If it goes ahead, the strike will not take place until August 22 at the earliest, as ten days notice must be given of a walkout.

On Friday, negotiations broke down with the state-run airport management authority, AENA.

“On Thursday we will have a meeting of our executive committee which will take some decisions,” a source at the Union of Air Traffic Controllers (USCA) told Associated Press.

“We still hope that it will not be necessary to call a strike and we can reach an agreement with AENA.”

Exceltur, the association of Spanish travel  agents, hotels, tour operators and airlines, has called on the air traffic controllers to accept the airport authority’s offer.

“We demand the unions accept AENA’s offer of arbitration and immediately call off the air strike threat,” it said.

A strike over three days would affect two million airline passengers including an estimated 300,000 people flying to or from the UK.

If the industrial action by 2,300 controllers goes ahead it will be the first time air traffic controllers in Spain have gone on strike.

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