There is an air of foreboding for travelers going in and out of Spain later in the month because air traffic controllers have threatened an unannounced strike. This is because the Spanish government has lowered their salaries from £290,000 annually to £167,000 annually. This is in lieu of the government’s call for austerity, pretty much demanding the same sacrifice from professionals all over the country.

Spain has been suffering from major budget deficits recently. While the slash in the air controllers’ salaries is a hefty 40%, which will definitely affect their lifestyles, the government insists that salary cuts are being applied to almost all professionals. Air controllers’ salaries should have been overlooked has it not been for Jose Blanco, the minister for development, who pointed out that some civil servants are earning as much as £800,000 a year.

Blanco said that it’s out of the question to impose austerity on common people when their own civil servants are earning like millionaires. The air controllers who are threatening to go on strike on near or on August 18. When the salary decrease was announced last month, more than 40% of air controllers also took a sick leave for one whole day. This already caused a lot of problems.

What aggravated the situation is the announcement that they will be made to work for 1,600 hours a year at a regular salary in their new contracts. The old one only required them to work 1000 hours a year, with a maximum overtime of 600 paid at three times the usual rate.

Most of these air controllers actually earned most of their living by working overtime. With a new 1,600 hour annual requirement, things are bound to be tight. The union voted on the issue and garnered a 98% ballot result for action. Now, they’re accusing the government of ignoring their rights and pushing through with the changes even while the negotiations were still being processed.

Most likely, there will be a walkout on August 18, and the strike can last for a maximum of three days. For Britons who are frequenting the country during this holiday, this is very bad news.



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