The trial of 81 air-traffic controllers, whose actions led to chaos over the Constitution holiday eight years ago, started at the Provincial Court in Palma yesterday. Twenty of the controllers appeared, with court sessions having been staggered and due to be held this month and in December.

The likelihood of all these sessions now seems remote. The prosecution service is willing to drop charges against seven of the 81, while a global agreement has been reached regarding the others. They will pay fines of 10,000 euros, which basically cover further compensation to passengers, having accepted the charge of abandoning the place of work. Six union leaders will be fined 30,000 euros and face five months disqualification.

The actions in December 2010 were unofficial absences for alleged sickness. Seven of the accused had refused to accept an agreement, having argued that they genuinely were on sick leave or had not been scheduled to work.

With this general agreement, it would appear that a more serious charge of sedition has been dropped.