THE fact that the Spanish government has decided to keep the country on an emergency footing just in case air traffic controllers go on strike again has set alarm bells ringing across Europe.
The last thing that Spain needs at the moment is another wildcat strike by air traffic controllers which caused chaos two weeks ago. The airlines say that the damage has already been done and there is a deep fear of further industrial woes. The air traffic controllers have been demonised by the Spanish media especially as some earn in excess of 250'000 euros a year, far more than your average Spanish family.
The Spanish government has placed the issue in the hands of the military who are now in charge of all air traffic control towers. In some ways I support the government action but on the other hand they are just underlining the fact that the strike could happen again. The Spanish government needs to settle this dispute fast because otherwise Spain risks gaining a reputation for strikes. The Spanish airlines say that the wildcat strike cost them in excess of 200 million euros but the damage to Spain´s image is far higher. Action must be taken and the only way forward is to bring the air traffic controllers to the negotiating table.