Spain to rule on state of alert extension at cabinet meeting

14th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Spanish government will decide at a cabinet meeting later Tuesday whether to extend a state of alert issued to end a wildcat strike by air traffic controllers, a government spokesman said.

The cabinet meeting which gets underway at 7 pm (1800 GMT) will decide if the 15-day state of alert decreed on December 4 should be prolonged to prevent travel disruptions during the Christmas holidays, he said.

A 15-day extension of the state of alert would last until January 3.

The controllers called in sick en masse on December 3, rapidly shutting down the nation's airspace at the start of one of Spain's busiest holiday weekends in a protest over working hours and benefits, and disrupting the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of people.

Air services returned to normal after the government declared the state of alert, which placed the controllers under military command with the threat of jail terms for refusing orders.

It was the first time the measure had been imposed since Spain turned into a democracy after the 1975 death of dictator General Francisco Franco.

© 2010 AFP

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