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Spain is a banana republic...


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#1 davichin

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 03:46 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk...europe-11918008

How can this happen? I hope the government has enough balls to fire all of these a**hole air controllers.

Right now an Alarm condition has been issued by the state (first ever time in Spain´s democracy) and air control has been passed to the ministry of defence so, as of now, civil air controllers have a recruited status and failure to work yields a traitor/sedition crime of up to eight years in jail. I would love to see it enforced...
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#2 Paul Kay

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:08 AM

I simply don't know the ins and outs of this dispute and have no desire to take sides, but when an air traffic controller spokesman says "in this situation we cannot control planes" there is decidedly a real problem as this is clearly a 'bottom line statement' and the controllers have no further fall back. I've just been bemused by watching the media coverage of this in the UK where it is being portrayed, in typical media fashion, as a 'terrible thing'. Has everyone lost their sense of adventure and ability to cope with the unexpected I wonder? An inconvenience and potentially a real annoyance for sure, but as with many such incidents it is already being over-hyped by the news media.
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#3 davichin

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:15 AM

Even if one doesn´t sides, there are things about a non previously noticed transport strike like lost donated organs, medical emergencies etc... that have very little sense of adventure to them... Not to talk about the economical outcomes...
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#4 Paul Kay

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:52 AM

Even if one doesn´t sides, there are things about a non previously noticed transport strike like lost donated organs, medical emergencies etc... that have very little sense of adventure to them... Not to talk about the economical outcomes...

Ummm. Interesting isn't it, that the media never comments on the really important aspects such as donated organs, emergencies etc.!!!

As for economical outcomes - well isn't that the whole idea.......?
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#5 loftus

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:20 AM

Where is Ronald Regan when you need him to fire their asses? :D
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#6 Paula Schi

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:43 AM

It's a pity on what's going on, but these guys are fed up and are just fighting back. Firing them is not going to help much more, since I suppose there is not enough military personnel to handle the traffic at a day to day basis... air traffic controller's don't grow on tree's...

#7 cor

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:48 AM

Fed up with what? With contributing to preventing spain from going bankrupt?
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#8 Drew

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:22 AM

Where is Ronald Regan when you need him to fire their asses? :P


Dead and buried. As is the notion of "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country?" How do you say that in Spanish? :D

It's basic instinct. Those ATC think their life(style) is threatened so they are going to react. Although there's very little sympathy for a job whose avg wage €170k. :P

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#9 davichin

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 08:38 AM

Ummm. Interesting isn't it, that the media never comments on the really important aspects such as donated organs, emergencies etc.!!!


Local media commented on these aspects...

Where is Ronald Regan when you need him to fire their asses? :P


:D

Reagan did it well and probably a Thatcher would also serve well... I have not much trust in Zapatero´s strength to handle these matters but the country is roaring against the ATCs...

Fed up with what? With contributing to preventing spain from going bankrupt?


You are right, Cor. Spain´s economy does not need blows like this...

As is the notion of "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country?" How do you say that in Spanish?

It's basic instinct. Those ATC think their life(style) is threatened so they are going to react. Although there's very little sympathy for a job whose avg wage €170k


It goes something like: "No pienses que puede hacer tu país por tí - piensa en que puedes hacer tú por tu país" :P

Those ATC minimum wage is €K200 working something like 3 days a week...plus extra hours etc... for a €K300+ average. They work 1200 hours a year... and they rest 33% of their shift during the day and 50% during the night... Tough life... specially when the requirements are three years of university (does not matter on what...) and English.
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#10 Drew

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:01 PM

It goes something like: "No pienses que puede hacer tu país por tí - piensa en que puedes hacer tú por tu país" :D

Those ATC minimum wage is €K200 working something like 3 days a week...plus extra hours etc... for a €K300+ average. They work 1200 hours a year... and they rest 33% of their shift during the day and 50% during the night... Tough life... specially when the requirements are three years of university (does not matter on what...) and English.


Now now, ATC is a very taxing job and also high risk. Siesta time is muy importante! Seriously though, they are responsible for directing traffic of flying fuel tanks with thousands of people in the air. I wouldn't dismiss that job as easy at all.

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#11 Poliwog

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:51 PM

Let's not forget that it's the air traffic controller that they try to hang after they find out that there is no way to pin a huge plane crash on the pilots involved.

It's a huge responsibility to bear knowing that the fate of a couple of hundred passengers is in your hands.

All you need to ruin your day as an air traffic controller is to have a small Nordo(no radio) general aviation aircraft squawking the wrong transponder code while busting airspace it's not suppose to be in, to really give you a bad case of nerves. After having a few experiences like that, I don't know of anyone that would not think they weren't getting paid enough.
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#12 loftus

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 03:11 PM

Let's not forget that it's the air traffic controller that they try to hang after they find out that there is no way to pin a huge plane crash on the pilots involved.

It's a huge responsibility to bear knowing that the fate of a couple of hundred passengers is in your hands.

All you need to ruin your day as an air traffic controller is to have a small Nordo(no radio) general aviation aircraft squawking the wrong transponder code while busting airspace it's not suppose to be in, to really give you a bad case of nerves. After having a few experiences like that, I don't know of anyone that would not think they weren't getting paid enough.

No denying the intensity and responsibility of the job; but hourly rate probably is equivalent to a neurosurgeon. And blame or no blame they are pretty immune from financial responsibility unlike a neurosurgeon. Similarly many folks like firefighters actually pu their own lives on the line for a lot less. I'm all for folks being well paid but 300k probably puts them in the top 1% income bracket or better
Seems like making them work more hours rather than closing the airport for a couple of hours a day, may not be the smartest thing

Edited by loftus, 04 December 2010 - 03:32 PM.

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#13 dirtydave

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 09:43 PM

Let's remember that nobody wants to strike. The workers are using the only weapon they have against what they see as unfair practices of the government. Think what you like about socialism, but cuts need to start with the people at the top who have wrecked the system, not the poor embattled middle class.

Yes, Spain is bankrupt, just like the States, but for different reasons. The US spent more than it could afford on the military, which has bankrupted the country. Spain spent its money on social programs. Unfortunately in both countries corrupt poliiticians and business people sucked the system dry and now the price must be paid. The rich just want the poor to shoulder the blame. Lets see the politicians drop their pay/benefits to $50,000 /year and then tell us to tighten our belts. Seems that the rich feel their lifestyle should not be impacted by the disastrous mess they made. (To say nothing of the criminals who brought down the US banking/investment system). Obama got in with a promise of sweeping change, US got "more of the same".

#14 Drew

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 09:44 PM

Wow job valuation time! Jeff you really are a hive stirrer! :D

One way to look at it is that the ATC is one of those behind the scene, thankless jobs that no one cares about when nothing goes wrong, because it's a job well done if nothing happens. A surgeon fixes a person's medical problems so you get the "hero saves the day" spotlight and thus the disparity in job values.

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#15 cor

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 11:07 PM

Let's remember that nobody wants to strike. The workers are using the only weapon they have against what they see as unfair practices of the government. Think what you like about socialism, but cuts need to start with the people at the top who have wrecked the system, not the poor embattled middle class.

I guess thats why they started with the air traffic controllers, the people at the top. At 300K euro a year you can hardly call that embattled middle class. Thats what, 8 times average income? Maybe more? What ive read from the news is that the government is requiring them to work more hours in an attempt to prevent Spain for going into a financial crash like Greece. So basically those top paid ATC guys are saying 'let the embattled middle class sort out our financial mess'.

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#16 Paula Schi

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 12:20 AM

Thank you Drew for writing what it is like (I am an ATCO myself)...

There is no denying that the Spanish ATCOs earn a whole lot of money. I don't even get half as much as they do.
But anyhow, that's what the AENA (the spanisch NATS, FAA) is paying them for doing overhours since they don't have enough staffing to get the job done. I have no idea why they haven't hired more, but one thing I do know is that you can't find 'em around the corner (we have the same staffing issue)...

They raised the working hours from round about 1200 per year to round about 1800 per year this spring. Now their working hours are simliar to those that I do...
The new thing that was decided last week by the government was that they get no pay for: their annual medical check-up (same thing which for mandatory for pilots), stand-by duty (365,24) and if you are needed elsewhere, then you are transferred within a week to another part of the country.

And whoever is yelling for the military come and do the job- then bring 'em on. But is what can happen if somebody does a job that they are not trained for (you have to get trained and checked-out on a sector to be able to work it):

http://news.bbc.co.u...000/4202039.stm

And: Regarding military taking over ( anywhere ) this is 2010 in the EU where licensing is in force, Military controllers are not licenced/trained for En-route civil ops. For TWRs at airports this is different ( mixed ops ) . Also numbers are not at all the same , a few hunded licensed military controllers in Spain 1800 civil.

Comparison with Reagan/USA/1981. in 81 huge overstaff in FAA, low working hours , so firing 60% workforce was mitigated by : calling back retired people, management and a few ( hundreds ) of military in some TWRS. Then they enforced 6 days/ week of 12 hours/day to that workfordce, and still it was a mess for 12-14 months ( big delays in the New york area,many incidents). Resolved after 4-5 years only...

I would like to add that it's a no-go just to walk out off the job and bring the country into complete chaos! If there is a strike, then it has to be made possible that medevac and ambulance flights can be done. It has to be a legal and announced well in advance so that measures can be taken...

Edited by Paula Schi, 05 December 2010 - 12:27 AM.


#17 Paul Kay

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 02:55 AM

I would like to add that it's a no-go just to walk out off the job and bring the country into complete chaos! If there is a strike, then it has to be made possible that medevac and ambulance flights can be done. It has to be a legal and announced well in advance so that measures can be taken...

Thanks for the info Paula - very illuminating.

Out of curiosity, what happens with medevac, etc., when weather grounds everything (as it partially did in the UK last week) - are there emergency contingencies which are used instead, and if so do these kick in when an unofficial strike occurs?
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#18 loftus

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 06:53 AM

Wow job valuation time! Jeff you really are a hive stirrer! :D

One way to look at it is that the ATC is one of those behind the scene, thankless jobs that no one cares about when nothing goes wrong, because it's a job well done if nothing happens. A surgeon fixes a person's medical problems so you get the "hero saves the day" spotlight and thus the disparity in job values.

Not that it's important to this conversation but on a daily basis neurosurgeons hardly get any accolades for what they do every day. My point was simply to point out that these guys are paid very well by any standard. But from what I read on the BBC link this is about increasing hours, not about more pay. If increasing hours really will result in decreased safety then I am totally with the controllers, and airport hours should be curtailed instead. On the other hand if they would agree to work more hours for more money, then its obviously not about safety. A wise mentor I once had used to say ' the more people say its not about the money, the more you can be sure it is about the money'
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#19 Paula Schi

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 10:05 AM

Hi Paul,

actually I'm really not sure. I guess they bring the patient or organs to another airport which is open and then fly from there.
I only do upper airspace control (everything above 25,000 feet77,5km).

I don't like doing overtime myself because it's just giving my employer company the feeling that I will come in for anything. Money makes things easier but it cannot replace time. The job is stressy enough and it has been once said that controllers have one of the lowest life expectancies.
As far as I understand the situation, the AENA was willing to pay high overtme wages since they didn't have enough personnel. That's where the high income comes from. Then AENA said thea have to work more- raising the yearly work time from 1200 to 1800 hours per year (that's round about the hours a controller does per year here in Germany) for the same pay.
Now, last week the government brought in a new policy which states the ATCOs have be on standy-by 365/24, lowering the minimum rest times (here in Germany I have to "wait" 12hrs until I can work again) and then the stuff I wrote in my reply above.

So as far as I see it- it's not really aout the money anymore.

Anyhow: let's get back to talking about diving ;-)

#20 tdpriest

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 07:02 AM

Where is Ronald Regan when you need him to fire their asses? :)


Hmmnn...

... the late, lamented Ron and the lamented Maggie, in their later lives, both had trouble finding their own asses, let alone anyone else's...

... please let's not allow Wetpixel to degenerate into a slanging match between political affiliations?

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