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French controllers strike today, spanish tomorrow.

20-08-2013
Tens of thousands of people are facing travel chaos when a series of air industry strikes get under way across Europe today. Air traffic controllers in France will hold a 12–hour stoppage today, and workers in Italy, Greece and Portugal are threatening to take simultaneous action. The French stoppage will disrupt the three Balearic airports. All flights bound for Britain and Germany from the Balearics are handled by French controllers at some stage. The French air traffic controllers are protesting at a restructuring of air traffic control across European airspace. The French strike coincides with a general strike across Spain tomorrow that will further affect travellers. It is feared 80'000 Britons, including about 30'000 across the Balearics, will be affected by the 24–hour strike in Spain which is expected to severely disrupt flights to and from the country. A spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said: “It's clear there will be delays and clients have been informed of the problem. “The problem is, nobody is quite sure how bad an effect the strike will have on travel. “The Spanish Government has talked about basic services being maintained, but it's unclear exactly what this will mean.” ABTA recommends travellers be aware and plan ahead and contact tour operators to check on times of flights. Earlier this month, UK air traffic controllers belonging to the Prospect union rejected a pay deal which has forced bosses and union workers back to the drawing board with talks to avert a strike. Workers had spoken of “growing dissatisfaction” within the industry. The major European tour operators in the Balearics are believed to be drawing up contigency plans in an effort to soften the full force of the strike. Trade unions have made it clear that Palma airport will be a focal point of their protests on Thursday. As far as the Balearics is concerned the French strike coupled with the general strike 24 hours later could lead to travel chaos across the islands. In resorts tourists on Thursday will probably be asked to make their own beds and make some allowances. Tour firms fear that this latest bout of industrial unrest coupled with the tourist tax and last year's coach strike will further dent holiday bookings to the Balearics. Another coach strike, similar to the one we saw last summer is the last thing Majorca needs at the moment,” said one official from a leading tour firm. With tourism to the Balearics already down some hoteliers are claiming that the islands are facing one of their worst summer seasons in the last decade. Even the Balearic Ministry of tourism has admitted that there will be a fall in visitor numbers this year.

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