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Wildcat strike cripples Spanish airports.

Summary: Iberia and Ryanair flights in and out of Spain have been cancelled.

Iberia and Ryanair flights in and out of Spain have been cancelled.

The airlines say they have acted as a wildcat strike by air traffic controllers enters its second day.

The Spanish economy has been hit hard and Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Rubalcaba said: "If the situation doesn't normalise, the government will declare a state of emergency.

"The controllers will be mobilised and if they don't get back to work, their cases will be passed immediately to the judiciary and they will be accused of a crime which could mean a prison sentence."

The army took over air control towers on Friday afternoon after unofficial strike action by controllers grounded planes and disrupted travel for around 250,000 people on one of Spain's busiest holiday weekends.

The controllers gave no warning before starting their walkout by claiming sick leave and leaving their posts, effectively closing the whole of Spanish airspace except the southern region of Andalucia.

The air traffic controllers are locked in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions with the state-run airport authority AENA.

The unofficial action followed cabinet approval of changes to rules on the number of hours air traffic controllers can work per year and of a law allowing the army to take over air space in times of emergency.

The government has also approved plans to sell off 49 per cent of AENA, a move unions have condemned.

Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Dec 4, 2010
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