A new series of walkouts was scheduled by the Spanish air controllers for the current month of July. During the first strike, the Government established minimum services of 70% and which were considered unfair by USCA – the main controllers’ union. On Tuesday, Enaire published a press release announcing that the minimum services have now been fixed at 80% for the stops scheduled on July 11 and 25, from 10:00 to 13:00 LT and on July 12 and 26, from 17:00 to 20:00 LT.
As they did last time, Enaire has pubished the justification that led them to make their decision about the minimum services. They also enclosed four annexes that detail the expected staff and the ones considered minimum in terms of safety for those specific days. In their opinion, Spanish aviation, being a very seasonal industry, would suffer a deeper impact from a strike on peak days. “In July 2014, traffic increased 12.8% regarding June 2014”.
Also, Enaire says that “the importance of tourism for our economy and its connection with aviation must be considered, since about 80% of the tourists visiting our country come by plane. Tourism represents around 15% of our GDP. Apart from the impact on the Spanish industry of interrupting tourist flow on those days, we would have to keep in mind the damage of a negative image of our country and a diversion of tourists towards other destinations in competition as consequence of that.”
The previous walkouts hardly had an impact on operations. USCA explained that this is due to the fact that the minimum services which had been established at 70% actually involved 99% of the staff in the operations department at the towers. Regarding the new strikes, for which the minimum services have been settled at 80%, USCA published a note on their web site yesterday. From their point of view, the minimum services of 80% may affect the operations more considering that the management posts don’t work on weekends. USCA already challenged the minimum services for the previous strike before the courts. Now they have announced they will challenge these minimum services too.
In the meantime, yesterday Enaire launched a new press release to communicate that they continue having talks with USCA in order to avoid this strike. However, “if negotiations fail Enaire will take all the necessary actions to ensure the general interest and minimize the impact of the walkouts on the users”.
Photo: Two Iberias and one Delta operating on the Madrid airport runways by Martin J Gallego – Flickr.