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Spanish report Spanish report
by Euro Reporter
2010-08-12 08:27:51
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No Spanish air traffic strike in August

Passenger fears over a potential strike by Spanish air traffic controllers have been –temporarily – allayed following an announcement by unions. Spanish air traffic controllers voted by an overwhelming majority to strike over government changes to their working conditions earlier this month.

However, they have garnered little public support, with many controllers reported to earn in excess of €350,000 while the government is simultaneously seeking to curtail a spiralling budget deficit. Controllers are employed by state-run airport management firm AENA.

Perhaps aware of the latent hostility toward their position, air traffic controllers have agreed to postpone any industrial action until after the key summer holiday period. “The executive committee has decided not to exercise the right to strike during the month of August in order to demonstrate responsibility,” explained Cesar Cap, USCA head of communications.


Wages cut, Spanish highway cops go soft on drivers

Spanish traffic cops upset over a pay cut and other slights have found a new way to express their anger: slapping motorists' wrists instead of writing them a ticket. That protest against Spain's economic and debt woes is raising concerns about whether road safety is being jeopardized in one of Europe's top tourism destinations. The number of traffic deaths last weekend hit 29 — the highest so far this year. In June, the first month after government salaries were reduced 5 percent as part of an austerity plan, the number of traffic tickets handed out by patrol officers fell by nearly 50 percent compared to the same period in 2009, according to figures from the Civil Guard highway department.

Official numbers for July are not yet out but news reports say the go-easy policy of letting people off with warnings rather than a fine has pressed on. The protest — which the Spanish press has baptized the strike of the "downed pens" — is another headache for a beleaguered government that also faces a threatened strike by air traffic controllers whose salaries were also cut. The highway cops have not said they are going easy on drivers, but their boss acknowledges they are. An official with the Independent Civil Guard Association, which acts like a pseudo-guild because the Civil Guard is a paramilitary organization and cannot unionize, said the protest began spontaneously and then spread.

"There is a generalized bad feeling," said this official, who spoke on condition of anonymity saying he feared reprisal if he were named.


Flotilla of stinging jellyfish hit Spanish beaches

Spain says a vast flotilla of jellyfish has stung hundreds of swimmers on Mediterranean beaches in recent days. Juan Carlos Castellanos, an official in the town hall of Elche on the Costa Blanca, said 700 people were attacked over three days starting Sunday at three nearby beaches, where normally just a handful get stung daily. He said the beaches were free of the blobby creatures Wednesday, however.

Castellanos said this particular invasion involved a small, almost transparent species that most swimmers probably could not even detect as it floated in a large but dispersed group along three beaches. Spanish marine biologists say that in general they are seeing fewer jellyfish this summer than in other years.

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