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The tourist industry in Spain breathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday as air traffic controllers confirmed they were calling off the three day strike planned for this week. The controllers’ union, UNSCA, postponed the strike over pay and conditions following an outcry from Spain’s tourism industry, which led to intervention from the Spanish Government. However, the industry is not quite out of the woods, and strikes during September have not been ruled out after both parties, (UNSCA and the Airport Authorities), failed to reach an agreement.

About the decision to back-track UNSCA spokesman, Cesar Cabo, claimed: “The union understands the concerns of the tourism sector and passengers.”

However, it seems some damage has already been done with hoteliers and tour operators reporting a slump in sales following the announcement of strike action last week, with late bookings particularly affected.

However, it was not all good news and a strike at UK airports, including Heathrow and Stansted, remained a distinct possibility in the near future. The Unite union announced members had voted for strike action, although there remained hope a compromise could be reached.

The following remained posted on the BAA website last week – “We regret the uncertainty caused to our passengers and business partners by the trade union ballot for strike action at our UK airports. At this stage no flights from our UK airports are affected and no dates for industrial action have been set. More than half of those eligible to vote in the strike ballot did not do so and we believe the result does not provide a clear mandate for strike action. We believe that our offer of a conditional 1.5% pay increase is fair and reasonable during a very difficult economic climate for the aviation industry. We look forward to meeting the trade unions on Monday 16 August and are ready to meet over the weekend to quickly conclude an agreement.”

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