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Ryanair takes on Spain's air traffic controllers

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Ryanair takes on Spain's air traffic controllers
Ryanair have launched a campaign to keep skies open. Photo: Philippe Huguen / AFP
15:52 CEST+02:00
Budget airline Ryanair has called on members of the public across Europe to back its new campaign to stop air traffic controllers going on strike, ahead of partial stoppages called by Spain's air traffic controllers during two weekends in July.

The Irish airline, which has long called for a crackdown on strikes by controllers, has launched a petition calling for the removal of the right to strike.

Ryanair says that when a million people have signed the petition, named Keep Europe's Skies Open, it will be presented to the European Commission and used to pressure authorities into action.

Ryanair's chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: "It's unacceptable that Europe's consumers repeatedly have their holiday and travel plans disrupted or cancelled by the selfish actions of ATC unions every summer, who use strikes as a first weapon rather than a last resort.

"If the EU won't listen to the airlines, perhaps they'll listen to Europe's citizens," he said.

The petition was launched just hours before French air traffic controllers called off a two-day strike that was set to cause travel chaos across Europe on Thursday and Friday.

Spanish air traffic controllers on Monday announced partial strikes over the second and last weekends in July - threatening to disrupt some of the busiest travel days for holidaymakers.

As part of an ongoing industrial dispute, Spain's Unión Sindical de Controladores Aéreos (USCA) said the stoppages will take place between 10am and 1pm on July 11th and 25th and between 5pm and 8pm on July 12th and 26th.

The strike is the second such action in as many months after air traffic controllers took action over four days in June in protest at sanctions handed out to 61 air traffic controllers for shutting down Barcelona's airspace in 2010.

But the union complained that minimum services imposed by the government "violated" members' fundamental right to strike.

Latest: French air traffic controllers call off strike.

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