Delays at Palma airporyt can be expected this weekend

Delays can be expected at Palma's Son Sant Joan airport over the weekend because of a refusal by Spanish air traffic controllers to work overtime. A spokesman for USCA, the union to which 95 per cent of the air traffic controllers belong, said that it had recommended members not to do any voluntary overtime over the next few weekends, in protest at differences with AENA (Spanish Airports and Air Navigation) over pay claims and other agreements. Juan María Garcia, the union leader, said that the overtime ban would come into force this morning and would continue over the weekend, as there had been no response from AENA. He stressed that the refusal to work overtime was not a strike call but a “recommendation” made by the union after analysing the latest offer from AENA. He added that the repercussions for passengers were “difficult to determine” although delays can be expected. “Delays,” he went on to say, “are not good for anyone, not even for us.” Garcia also said that there could be a domino effect as there are sectors which, although fully manned, are affected by delays which arise in other sections. AENA, for its part, said that it would try to ensure the quality of the service which it provides for airlines and passengers, an effort which is intensified in periods of most demand. In a communique, the airport authority said it would maintain this commitment above all else. It said that there were no reasons which justified the measure advocated by the union and said it would try to solve any possible discrepancies via dialogue. The communique said that AENA had been informed of the union's intentions on August 9, and had immediately called a meeting with the union. After 14 hours of talks, it ended with a joint document covering the chief matters raised by the union. The communique goes on to say that AENA responded to everything raised by USCA with promises and dates, and also with new proposals, however, at a later meeting, the union rejected everything in the joint document. The communique ended with AENA saying that the union's reaction was out of proportion and unjustified as the lines of dialogue were still open.