85 percent of air traffic controllers have promised to provide services during the Christmas holidays (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The union USCA have ensured the provision of service during the holidays and are willing to return to negotiations in order to sign a final agreement. 85 percent of air traffic controllers, around 1,600 operators, have signed a letter promising to avoid problems. The support, collected within 48 hours from nearly 50 workplaces, seeks to demonstrate to members of the Diputados, who vote today on whether to extend the state of alarm, that it makes "no sense" to continue from the point of aviation safety. The president of Usca, Camilo Cela, read out the letter which "guarantees the continuity of service". Later, spokesman Daniel Zamit, said that they are also willing to return to the negotiating table. VIce-president José Maria Acebedo, claimed that they have aready lost three months in negotiating because Aena were not willing to compromise on any item of their proposal. Acebedo wanted to clarify that "at no time did the controllers abandon their services" and said that they followed the proper protocol. He also claimed that some controllers went to their jobs on Saturday December 4th, in the morning, and could not access their posts because the military had said that the airspace was closed.
More than 300 firefighters demonstrate in Plaza de Sant Jaume (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Barcelona firefighters protested yesterday on account of what they see as a breach in an agreement between them and the council which they say threatens their daily rescue work. One of the greatest points of conflict is to do with the training of agents. According to Victor Dobaño, spokesman for the Plataforma Bombers Barcelona, "any company is obliged to train their employees on safety. We work in situations of great risk, so in our case, our daily work depends largely on our ability and knowledge of the security procedures." Besides training, the staff have issues over the payroll saying that for 45 percent of 2009 they worked with staff numbers below the minimum, with less than 101 guards at the city stations. The current total of firefighters is around 660, which is below the 730 troops that the ayuntamiento say should be the minimum to meet the basic needs of Barcelona. The protest comes two days before the government approve the budgets for 2011.
Barcelona on alert for low temperatures that are expected to hit -2 on the Catalan coast (read article in Castilian here, El País). The ayuntamiento has enabled all resources to ensure all emergency equipment is in place as well as expanding overnight accommodation facilities aimed specifically at homeless people. They have also put in place a plan to mobilise firefighters and local police to act in case of snow and ice. Temperatures are to fall to -2 on the Catalan coast but the wind chill factor will make temperatures reach -11 degrees in the case of the Pyrenees. The cold, wind, snow and sea state have resulted in a notice of warning from the Situación Meteorológica de Riesgo (SMR) at level1. The notice includes heavy frost and a very strong wind. The situation is set to get better from Friday with temperatures rising again at the weekend.