NEWS

Air controllers’ strike ‘illegal’

Air-traffic controllers, who had threatened to disrupt all flights into and out of the country as of tomorrow with rolling 24-hour strikes, indicated yesterday that they might call off the action after an Athens court declared it illegal. A spokesman for the controllers said they would meet today to debate their course of action. The workers, who are demanding better wages and the recruitment of more staff, said they might stage a work-to-rule protest»instead of the rolling strikes. This would result in delays to domestic and international flights, as air-traffic controllers observe strict limits on the number of aircraft allowed in Greek air space at any given time. According to sources, the public servants said they would not stage work stoppages during the week to avoid causing disruption for passengers. But other sources claimed that workers are considering calling a 24-hour strike for next weekend. Transport Minister Dimitris Reppas yesterday urged the air-traffic controllers not to take action that would hurt the country’s tourism industry, which is reeling following several months of workers’ strikes against the debt-ridden government’s austerity measures. On Thursday, the Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agents (HATTA) issued a statement complaining that rolling strikes by the air-traffic controllers «would be the nail in the coffin of what is left of the Greek tourism sector this year.» In the same statement, HATTA appealed to the protesters to show «maturity and cool-headedness» in pursuing their financial demands.