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Air traffic controllers call June strike across Spain

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Air traffic controllers call June strike across Spain
Passengers waiting at Madrid Barajas airport during the 2010 air traffic controllers strike. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP
16:24 CEST+02:00
Spanish air traffic controllers have announced four days of strikes in June, threatening travel chaos during peak season for tourists visiting Spain.

A Spanish air traffic controllers union has called four days of strikes on June 8th, 10th, 12th and 14th in protest against the punishment doled out to 61 air traffic controllers after a 2010 strike.

La Unión Sindical de Controladores Aéreos (USCA) has called partial strikes which will be held for two hours on the morning and two on the evening, between 10am and 12pm and 6pm and 8pm, the union announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

Enaire, which runs the majority of airports in Spain, fined 61 air traffic controllers from Barcelona Control Centre one month's salary, as well as suspending them for a month, because of a strike which led to a national emergency in 2010.

Air traffic controllers across Spain staged a spontaneous strike, leading to the government to issue a "state of alert", ordering the air traffic controllers back to work and bringing in the army to take over air traffic control in the meantime.

It was the first time the Spanish government had called a state of alert since its return to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Air traffic controllers were escorted back to work by armed guards.

During the USCA’s national convention, held in Madrid on Tuesday, May 26th, 81 percent of union members voted in favour of the strike

The suspension of 59 of the 61 staff members have not yet taken taken place, having been pushed back to 2016 because of a "shortage of staff".

The spokesman for USCA in Madrid, Beatriz Jerez, said the 61 air traffic controllers "had zero responsibility" for the closure of air space in 2010, reported Spanish daily 20 minutos. 

Susana Romero, USCA’s national spokesman, said that it was in fact Enaire that closed air space in 2010 and that the air traffic controllers had merely been "following orders". 

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