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Latest News - February 2011

February 26, 2011
Spanish unions threaten Easter airport strike
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
By: Harold Heckle

Spanish union leaders threatened a strike by airport workers that could close down airports during the busy Easter vacation season.

The General Workers union, the Workers Commission union and the Syndicated Workers union said at a rally in Madrid on Saturday that negotiations with the government over its plans to partly privatize the civil aviation agency AENA have broken down.

"The strike would affect all airports in the country," union representative Raul Gomez said as he led around 2,500 of AENA's more that 12,000 employees, including baggage handlers and firefighters, on a march to the city's central Puerta del Sol square.

Union leaders said they were worried that many of airport workers would be asked to accept less pay as well as worse and less safe working conditions in a part-privatized company.

The threatened strike action would be April 22-25, but could be extended to May 22, when the country holds regional elections, the union leaders said.

The government on Friday incorporated a new holding company under which private investors can buy up to 49 percent of AENA's shares.

Spain's Socialist government halted an air traffic control strike in December by imposing an emergency decree that threatened employees with prison and placed control towers under military supervision.

AENA director Javier Marin said he was confident that a deal to avert the strike could be achieved.

"I hope this worrying situation will be resolved through dialogue," Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said.



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