Air Traffic Controller case rumbles on

Malaga airport was hit by the strike.

A passenger affected by the Air Traffic Controllers’ strike on December 3 and 4, 2010, has appealed the decision of a Malaga court to shelve the case.


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Four other people are also due to do the same thing.

The strike came after the Cabinet approved a Royal Decree on December 3, 2010, which stated that the maximum number of hours which controllers can work is 1,670 a year.

The protest disrupted the travel plans of not only people living in Spain, but across Europe as well.

The government declared the state of alert, which placed the controllers under military command with the threat of jail terms for refusing orders.

It was the first time the measure had been imposed since Spain became a democracy after in 1975.

In Malaga alone, more than 200 flights were cancelled and 30,000 hotel bookings were lost on the Costa del Sol.

Throughout Spain, the airport authority AENA opened disciplinary proceedings against 442 controllers.

In April, a court in Malaga shelved the complaint presented by people affected by the strike action, stating that it was not a crime, and approving a report which claimed that cancellations had not been due to the situation of Malaga’s Air Traffic Controllers, but due to other facilities being closed.

However, the plaintiff’s lawyer says that those who take part in a collective abandonment of an essential public service, even if they did not plan or lead it, can face fines of between eight and 12 months as it is criminally reproachable.

If accepted, the appeal will be heard in the provincial court.

The strike received little sympathy from the Spanish public, whose average yearly salary is around €18,000, compared to the €200,000 per year of Air Traffic Controllers.


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