THE threat of industrial action at Balearic and Spanish airports over the Easter holiday period will today take a step further towards becoming a reality when the country's three main unions officially notify the Ministry for Work in Madrid of their strike plans.

Spanish airport authority, Aena, employees have been warning about taking industrial action over the government's plans to sell off 49 percent of the country's main airports as part of a part privatisation project to raise extra funds for government coffers.

But, Aena staff are strongly opposed to the sell off because of the lack of job guarantees and have been warning that unless there was some kind of U-turn by the government, there would be strike action.

Over the weekend, the plans to disrupt the Easter holiday period were slammed by all sectors of the domestic and international tourist industries which still remember the chaos caused by air traffic controllers last December when they mounted a covert strike which brought Spain to a close for 24 hours.

Union sources said yesterday that while the first strike will be held on Easter Thursday, there will be more strikes over the holiday period and these dates will be submitted to the Ministry today.

Apparently, since the unions confirmed their intentions to strike at the end of last week, they have neither been contacted by Aena management nor the Ministry for Public Works.

Yesterday, Aena claimed that it is eager to sit down and negotiate a deal claiming that there is no need for strike action and the necessary job guarantees will be forthcoming.

But, the unions are also worried that private sector involvement, in search of a maximum return on their investment, will lead to higher airport operating costs which will then be passed on to the consumer by airlines trying to over come the current rise in fuel prices.