Posted by: anandalonso | 7 December, 2010

The other version of air controllers’s strike.

I’ve decided to write about this because I’m shocked with the disinformation the media have us submitted to, and how easily the government manipulates the public opinion.

The version of the air controllers strike that we all know is this one:

 

Yes, I’m saddened too by the passengers who weren’t able to fly this long weekend. But when I heard the other version thanks to an air controller’s blog, I got stonished when I realised the amount of lies that we get from media.

For example, on the piece of  news above it says:

Spanish air traffic controllers get triple time pay for overtime hours, for instance, and made much of their salary from this, earning an average yearly salary of euro350,000 ($463,600).

But in February the government slashed their allowed overtime hours drastically, infuriating the controllers who saw their pay nearly cut in half, although that is still roughly three times what Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero makes. The average yearly salary in Spain is about euro20,000 ($26,500)

This is totally false. In fact, what air controllers demand with the strike is a reduction of their working periods, since the reason for this salary is that they work 160 hours each month and they are exhausted. The problem is that there aren’t enough air traffic controllers, and the government, instead of hiring more, has  increased the working  hours even more!

Since last February, the government has issued 3 decrees. The first one extended 600 hours the yearly working period, the second one eliminated the rest days and forced air controllers to be available to work 365 days at year. Despite this fact, air controllers were still working many more hours than permitted by law, so the third decree was issued just before the long weekend: this one did away with holidays, formation hours, sick leaves,  reduction leaves because of maternity… (so we’re not only talking about “union meetings” as Blanco says) and this decree acts retroactively!!  This way, the government get a lot of legal working hours and nobody has to be hired.

So many constitutional rights infringed seemed unlikely to me, but I’ve checked in the BOE and it’s true. I understand perfectly that air controllers try to defend their rights, government forget that they are humans, not machines, and high salaries don’t change that.

It’s also amazing the ability to put all the public opinion against air traffic controllers just with the argument that they earn a lot of money (altough the figure above is also false, that’s what one or two big bosses get), and so if the air controllers complain to these measures, they can be under military authority and threatened with jail terms, and it looks fine for us as long as we can get our long weekend trip.

Definitely, this makes me reconsider if we really are in a “state of rights”, since if these decrees succeed, we could be the next ones seeing our labor conditions reduced under the general interest. The other thing to worry about is the freedom of information. Luckily we have the internet… so far!

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Responses

  1. This a very interersting post. A lot of things to speak, I’ll make a brief comment.
    I think both parts involved (controllers and government) have a part of the problem but I’m absolutely disagree about the way of developing the strike of the controllers. They have a priviliged position to force the government to take decissions because of their essential work to make the airports work well.
    But I think they have overpassed the limits of the rights strike. They deserve a big punishment. They are not better than other citizens.
    What about if medicals would leave his work in the hospitals? They also work with our lifes, they also work many hours but they know the most important it’s saving lifes, not earning more money.
    Talking about hours of work. Take a look to Cesar Cabo Facebook. Cesar Cabo is the representant of Controllers.
    This a very interersting post. A lot of things to speak, I’ll make a brief comment.
    I think both parts involved (controllers and government) have a part of the problem but I’m absolutely disagree about the way of developing the strike of the controllers. They have a priviliged position to force the government to take decissions because of their essential work to make the airports work well.
    But I think they have overpassed the limits of the rights strike. They deserve a big punishment. They are not better than other citizens.
    What about if medicals would leave his work in the hospitals? They also work with our lifes, they also work many hours but they know the most important it’s saving lifes, not earning more money.
    Talking about hours of work. Take a look to Cesar Cabo Facebook. Cesar Cabo is the representant of Controllers.
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/CesarCaboOficial
    – 14/11 – “I’ve nearly been in La gomera, it’s a beautiful place!”
    – 15/11 – Two holiday weeks. Disconnection!
    – 27/11 – A small breath for some days.
    I work 230 days a year. They work 120 days a year.

  2. I don’t agree with this way of developing strike either, but in this case I think they had no choice. Their strikes are negotiated by unions in which there’s not a single air controller, and the minimum services are of 120%. If you call that “right to strike”…

    By the way, I’ve made a mistake, they work 200 hours a month (by turns of morning, evening and night), so I imagine the effects of this on the worker’s organism and I don’t know if we are really safe when our flights depend on air controllers in this state of stress.

  3. I agree with controllers when they argue that some constitutional rights are infringed with them, but how many groups can extortion to a government as they do?

    When you play a game the rules have to be the same for every player, if a player use extortion, for me the other player has all the rights to play his own rules.

    Some of you really believe that all of them got stressed friday at 5pm and suddenly they didn’t get stressed 24 hours later when a militar is pointing to them with a gun machine in order them to work. Personally, I get more stressed when somebody points to me than when I work, but they seem more relaxed with a gun in their neck, at least they get the needed concentration to develop their work.

    I think that is only a matter of money, and this group is not precisely the one who can protest about it.
    you must respect the r

  4. Hello mates, unfortunatelly I have not enough information about what it seems to be the the super hot thing these days. I’ve been out, with no papers, no TV, even no mobile phone signal.
    Newspapers, TV-news, gatherings and so on are all mainly talking about it. Even you have shown an interest on it posting the theme in the blog.
    I guess not all of you have the same point of view regarding the air controllers action. In other words, we could say that Ananda agree with them at the same time that criticize the goberment action, On the other hand, Paco does not like what controllers have done thinking they would be punished and for Alberto they move only for the money.
    If I’d have to position myself, I’d be in Paco’s side. And going back to the begining, I don’t think the goberment designs the editorial line of newspapers like “El Mundo, ABC, La Razon, Publico, El Periodico, Las Provincias….” or TV-chanels like “Antena3, Tele5, Canal9, TeleMadrid, Intereconomia.
    So, people are not so easy to manipulate. Ther are lots of sources to get “information” or ¿ should we say “opinions” ?. At least almost everybody has it’s own and mostly of the times it’s a little bit partial.

  5. Hi mates,

    I am against the position and attitude of the air traffic controllers.
    This collective of workers have working conditions much more favourable than the average of other Spanish.

    The last strike was the culmination of a long dispute with the government over working conditions, working hours and benefits that ended with the decree approved by the Council of Ministers on Friday 03 December.

    My questions are:
    • Was the day prior to the longest spanish bank holiday, the better day to announce that decree?
    • Will pay the air controllers the compensations asked by more than 5,000 passengers affected?

  6. Hi, classmates! It seems the problem is not resolved. The controllers say they are more comfortable with the military than AENA. I agree with some of you that think the information is manipulated.


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