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Air traffic controllers threaten strike over Budget

By Chris Graeme [email protected]

Portuguese air traffic controllers were to meet on Wednesday this week, after the Algarve Resident went to press, to decide if they would join a nationwide general strike set for November 24.

At the heart of the matter are implications from the State Budget 2012 which reflect savage Troika-led austerity cuts.

A source for the Portuguese Air Traffic Controllers Union (Sindicato dos Controladores de Tráfego Aéreo) said on Tuesday that they were planning an extraordinary meeting for 9pm that day at “all places where there were civil air traffic control towers”.

This means Porto, Lisbon, Faro, Funchal and Porto Santo (Madeira), Santa Maria, Ponto Delgado, Horta and Flores (Azores).

The Workers’ Commission (Comissão de Trabalhadores) for NAV Portugal – the air traffic control entity – added in a communiqué dated October 25 that the “unions were meeting with CT to agree to begin internal procedures aimed at securing the approval to join the general strike on November 24, in addition to other measures deemed adequate.”

In the same statement, CT said that it has “ been negotiating for months with governments – both the current and past government – and parliamentary parties to demonstrate that the current situation of deadlock with senior management cannot go on in terms of the consequences of measures to cut operational costs”.

CT also states that “despite all efforts made and information channelled to various ministries, the various organisations representing workers have not received any reply from the Government” which has, on the contrary, “used the media as a vehicle to inform staff about the measures it intends to apply (…) which presuppose not only a reduction in costs but also the suspension of pre-existing company agreements”.