MADRID — Spain’s government says it is using emergency legislation to rein in its air traffic controllers, who earn up to euro900,000 ($1.2 million) a year in a country suffering a recession and nearly 20 percent unemployment.
The controllers are technically civil servants, but they signed an agreement in 1999 giving them autonomy and control over their salaries.
Development Minister Jose Blanco said the new law will return the sector to Spain’s public airport authority, AENA.
Blanco said the high annual salaries — an average of euro375,000 ($513,400) a year — defeat the government’s goal of cutting costs.
He said the emergency legislation became active today with the king’s signature, and he predicted parliament would support the measure.