Air-traffic controllers ponder strikes

Air-traffic controllers, who earlier this week threatened to disrupt domestic and international flights as of this Sunday with rolling 24-hour strikes, indicated yesterday that they might call off their action if a court ruling expected today declares it illegal. Commenting after the Civil Aviation Authority asked a judge for their threatened action to be declared «illegal and abusive,» the controllers said they would reconvene tomorrow to decide on their course of action. The workers, who are demanding better wages and the hiring of more staff, said that even if their threatened rolling strikes are canceled, they will continue with a work-to-rule protest they launched this week, causing delays for a number of flights as they observe strict limits on the number of aircraft allowed in Greek air space at any given time. In a related development yesterday, the Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agents (HATTA) issued a statement condemning the air-traffic controllers for their threat to proceed with rolling strikes in the middle of the tourist season, as the sector has already been hard hit by a string of strikes and protests by workers protesting the government’s austerity measures. In a written statement, HATTA said that such action would «be the nail in the coffin of what is left of the Greek tourism sector this year.» Highlighting the adverse impact of previous strikes by air-traffic controllers and seamen on tourist arrivals in Greece this year, HATTA appealed to the protesting air-traffic controllers to show «maturity and cool-headedness.» «Greek tourism is too vulnerable to withstand such a blow,» the statement added.

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