The Madrid Public Prosecutor's Office has requested fines of between 60,000 and 75,000 euros for the 133 air traffic controllers that from next Wednesday they will sit on the bench of course abandonment of public service during the strike of December 2010, which led to the closure of the airspace for about 20 hours and the declaration of the State of Alarm for the first time in democratic history .
However, as they have informed legal sources, only one, the one who was then the spokesman for the Union of Air Traffic Controllers Union (USCA), César Cabo, has not yet reached an agreement with the Public Ministry; the terms of conformity of the rest will be known during the hearing.
In its brief, the Prosecutor's Office has claimed that the controllers jointly and jointly and severally indemnify the injured passengers in concept of canceled flights and other derived expenses that have not yet been compensated, a compensation that the subsidiary public entity, Enaire, is responsible for.
Cancellation of 1,352 flights
Despite the attempts to avoid the trial, the Criminal Court number 18 of Madrid oral hearing will begin next week, which will be developed, according to the calendar that the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM) manages to date, over 26 sessions, the last one scheduled for March 18.
In its indictment, the Prosecutor's Office recalled that "As a result of collective abandonment" of the accused, civil servants, of their jobs there was the closure of the airspace in the Central-North region and, consequently, the cancellation of 1,352 flights between December 3 and 4, 2010, during the Constitution Bridge.
The Prosecutor's Office has added that «these cancellations produced damages to the public service provided by AENA and a large number of travelers who lost the amount of their plane and hotel reservations, as well as other cancellation fees ».
The prosecutor has also denounced how, between 5:00 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on day 3, a group of 59 controllers, “in a collective and concerted action in order to paralyze aeronautical activity Regardless of any collective bargaining or other legal means, ”he presented to his person in charge a document“ written in his own handwriting ”in which each one“ in his own way ”alleged a decrease in psychophysical abilities to perform his position.
In this sense, he pointed out, that practically all the staff provided for that turn will deliver such a form, forced the management of AENA to gradually reduce the capacity of the different sectorss in which airspace is organized.
So, at the beginning of the night shift only 16 controllers were presented of the 44 that were scheduled; the majority were, says the letter, in an assembly called by USCA.
The situation was consolidated a day later, when of the 73 who had to go to their jobs, "Only" 19 did it, a strategy that sought to "maintain the closure of airspace due to lack of personnel".
75,000 euros and one year suspension
The Prosecutor's Office has stressed that these actions, which were made of "conscious" way, were coordinated "outside of any formal strike call" by USCA, which was then involved in the negotiations with AENA for the second labor agreement of the aeronautical personnel.
Reason for claiming 75,000 euros and a year of suspension of employment to the seven members that well they were part of the union's Board of Directors or were members of its committee, an amount that is reduced to 60,000 euros for the rest of the accused.
The origin of the conflict dates back to January 2010, precisely at agreement negotiations; After accusing each other of negotiating without willingness to reach an agreement, in February the Government passed a royal decree law that returned to AENA the capacity of air traffic management and control, in the hands of the controllers since March 1999.
73 convicted controllers
In October 2018, the Provincial Court of Palma sentenced 73 controllers to fines of up to 31,500 euros, after they plead guilty to the crime of abandonment of service for these same facts.
In the current process some affected persons are also represented, such as those represented by the Cremades & Calvo Sotelo law firm, although the sources point out that anothers 50 particular accusations they have departed from the procedure after receiving their respective compensation.