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Posts Tagged ‘strike’

Australian flyer Qantas hit by bird strike

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2010 at 3:00 am

London braces for Underground train strike

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 at 5:42 am

Israel to purchase US-built F-35 strike fighters

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 11:23 am

Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday approved the purchase of a fleet of US-built F-35 strike fighters in a move set to ramp up the capabilities of the Israeli Air Force.

The minister “approved in principle” a recommendation by the military to purchase the F-35 or Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), a statement from his office said.

Israel is initially expected to buy 20 of the aircraft in a deal worth an estimated 2.75 billion dollars, the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily said in several reports published last week.

Should the deal be approved by the security cabinet, it will be the most expensive weapons deal ever signed by the Jewish state, it said.

“The F-35 is the fighter plane of the future which will give the air force better short-range and long-range capabilities which will help state security,” Barak said in the statement.

Delivery of the first F-35s, which are still not yet operational, is expected only in 2015, the paper said.

The price includes the cost of setting up a logistical infrastructure in Israel to allow local firms to manufacture spare parts for it.

Udi Shani, defence ministry director general, said a key element of the deal was an agreement which would allow Israeli industries to get involved in the assembly of the plane and the manufacture of spares.

“The considerations for approving the deal were not just about the operational abilities of the plane but the agreements for involving Israeli industries in the assembly of the plane,” the ministry quoted him as saying.

Acquisition of the F-35, which is made by US aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin, will give Israel access to stealth technology that will provide it with air superiority over enemy anti-aircraft defences.

Source: SGGP

US drone strike kills 13 in Pakistan

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 at 11:22 am

A US missile strike on a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal district on the Afghan border killed 13 rebels and wounded five others on Saturday, local security officials said.

The strike took place in the village of Essori, 20 kilometres (13 miles) east of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, known as a hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants.

“One missile fired from a US drone struck a militant compound in the village killing at least 13 rebels, many among them foreigners,” a senior Pakistani security official in the area told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Fact file and illustration on the unmanned US drone Predator

He said five other militants were wounded.

A local tribesman owned the compound and the strike occurred during special Ramadan prayers, called Taraweehi, he added.

Another security official confirmed the strike and casualties but cautioned that the nationalities of the dead were not yet known.

“It is also not yet clear if there was any high value target present in the area at the time of attack,” he added.

Militants sealed off the village and forced residents to stay in their houses after the attack, another security official told AFP.

US forces have been waging a covert drone war against Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked commanders in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt, where militants have carved out havens in mountains outside direct government control.

Washington has branded the rugged tribal area on the Afghan border a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous place on Earth.

The US military does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy pilotless drones in the region.

Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in more than 110 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008, including a number of senior militants. However, the attacks fuel anti-American sentiment in the conservative Muslim country.

The United States has been increasing pressure on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist havens along the border.

Pakistani commanders have not ruled out an offensive in North Waziristan, but argue that gains in South Waziristan and the northwestern district of Swat need to be consolidated to prevent their troops from becoming over-stretched.

Waziristan came under renewed scrutiny when Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American charged over an attempted bombing in New York on May 1, allegedly told US interrogators he went to the region for terrorist training.

Al-Qaeda announced in June that its number three leader and Osama bin Laden’s one-time treasurer Mustafa Abu al-Yazid had been killed in what security officials said appeared to be a drone strike in North Waziristan

Source: SGGP

Fuel crisis as Greek truckers step up strike

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 at 3:18 pm

ATHENS (AFP) – Greece’s government on Wednesday called crisis talks to deal with a nationwide fuel crisis as a truckers’ strike entered its third day at the height of the busy tourism season.

Fuel has run out in all but a few of the capital’s petrol stations and shortages are already reported in many major cities.

People stand next to a sign reading ‘only Super in a petrol station in Athens on July 27, 2010. AFP

The transport ministry has invited union leaders to talks to break the deadlock which began over plans to liberalise the freight sector.

The truckers say that opening the sector by reducing new licence charges is unfair to existing operators who have already paid high start-up fees running up to 300,000 euros (390,000 dollars).

“The state sold us these licences, so the state should compensate us,” the head of the truckers’ union George Tsamos told Flash Radio.

The protest has had a major impact on the country’s tourism season which is vital to the Greek economy as it battles an unprecedented financial crisis.

Hoteliers on Wednesday said they were already facing cancellations from vacationers unwilling to risk the journey until the protest ends.

“We have started receiving an important number of cancellations,” said Nikos Papalexis, the head of the Achaia hoteliers union in the northwestern Peloponnese peninsula.

“If this situation continues, a lot of hotels will have to dismiss staff or even shut down,” he told state television NET.

Source: SGGP

Airport strike disrupts flights in France

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm

 A strike by air traffic controllers disrupted travel across France on Wednesday with one in five flights from Paris’s main international airport Charles de Gaulle cancelled, authorities said.

Half of all flights were also cancelled from Paris’s second biggest airport, Orly, which serves domestic and some international destinations, air transport authority DGAC said.

File photo shows passengers walking through Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport as a plane takes off

It said disruption was expected at most French airports due to the strike, which comes as many people are leaving for their summer holidays.

Unions called the strike to protest against plans to merge to French air traffic control into a European-wide system.

The action was scheduled to run until Thursday morning, they said

Source: SGGP

More travel misery from Greek general strike

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm

ATHENS (AFP) – Travellers in Greece on Tuesday ran a labour gauntlet for the second time in a week as a general strike against pensions reform shut down services and disrupted departures from the capital.

But authorities took swift action to keep the main port of Piraeus from being blockaded, sending around 1,000 coastguards and police to keep unionists from seizing control of ferries.

Public Power Corporation employees protest outside their company’s headquarters with a banner reading: “We are not selling. We are not for sale” on June 28, 2010 in Athens. AFP

Some 500 Communist-affiliated strikers gathered at the harbour but were prevented from approaching the ships to the Aegean islands which include some of Greece’s top travel destinations, a coastguard source said.

However, they were able to block the departure of smaller vessels to islands closer to Athens.

“All the early boats to Aegean destinations have departed,” a coastguard spokeswoman told AFP.

“There are increased operational measures at the harbour and things are calm,” she said.

The general strike called by the main Greek unions is the fifth since February against a wave of austerity measures imposed by the government as it struggles to staunch a national debt crisis.

Separate street demonstrations against the sweeping spending cuts were planned in central Athens and other main Greek cities later on Tuesday.

A one-day protest on June 23 stranded thousands of travellers at one of the Mediterranean Sea’s busiest ports for hours.

The recurring labour unrest has cost Greece booking cancellations and millions of euros in damages at a time when the debt-hit nation is struggling to maximise its revenues and revive its flagging economy.

“Greek islanders are counting on the next month for funds,” Manolis Galanakis, deputy chairman of Greek coastal shipping associations, told Mega television.

He added that some 18,000 people were scheduled to sail from Piraeus on Tuesday.

A court late on Monday declared the ferry strike illegal but the Communist party and its related syndicates dismissed the ruling.

“Legality is relative. How can someone losing their job be considered legal?” the head of the Piraeus labour centre Nikos Xourafis told the television station.

Tourism contributes 17 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product.

Greece’s main airlines grounded nearly 50 of Tuesday’s domestic flights because of the strike while rail access to Athens airport was also impeded. Intercity trains also ran a reduced service along with hospitals while state offices shut down altogether.

No news was broadcast as journalists joined the action.

Lawmakers on Tuesday were to begin discussing a disputed pension reform tabled by the government that raises the general retirement age to 65 years for both men and women for the first time.

It also increases the mandatory workforce period from 37 to 40 years and cracks down on early retirement.

Source: SGGP

Greece to compensate tourists for strike delays

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm

AFP/File – Tourists are stranded at the Greek port of Piraeus in late May 2010 during a union strike.

ATHENS (AFP) – Greece offered to compensate tourists stranded by labour unrest ahead of a new travel strike Tuesday as unions stepped up their assault against government austerity cuts.

Greek Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos told a news conference that the government would guarantee extra room and board payments made by visitors as rail unions started a series of stoppages.

“We are certain that it will be a calm summer and that there will be no major strike disruptions,” a ministry source told AFP.

“But just in case something happens, the Greek state is prepared to cover these costs,” the source added.

Tourism is a pillar of the Greek economy but strikes and related violence sparked by the country’s debt crisis, as well as the international global crunch were estimated in May to have caused a 10 percent fall in hotel stays, according to tourism associations.

The minister told the press conference late Monday that compensation would even be paid for tourists stuck in Greece during the volcano eruption in Iceland in April that blocked European air routes for several days.

Geroulanos gave no details though of how much the compensation would cost nor how it would be paid.

Thousands of travellers have had holidays in Greece disrupted by successive strikes as the country grapples with a debt crisis that brought draconian wage and pension cuts.

Greece was recently saved from a debt default with a 110-billion-euro (136 billion dollar) bailout loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

But as Athens labours to maximise revenue, tens of millions of euros have already been lost from booking cancellations according to government estimates.

Railway workers on Tuesday began a series of two-hour work stoppages to last until Thursday, disrupting inter-city trains and services to Athens International Airport.

On Wednesday, communist-affiliated ship crews plan to block the main Greek port of Piraeus.

And the country’s main unions have called a general strike — the fifth since the start of the year — on June 29.

Tourism generates about 17 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product.

Source: SGGP

BA runs ‘more flights than planned’ despite strike

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2010 at 5:18 am

British Airways said it had operated more flights than planned on Sunday as cabin crew started a new five-day strike with little sign of a resolution to the long-running dispute.

The airline said it had reintroduced all of its services from its London Heathrow hub to New York’s JFK airport and would continue to add to its schedule where possible as crew defied the union and reported for week.

“Our global operations went very well throughout the first week of Unite’s strike action and got off to another good start today at the beginning of the second series of strikes,” BA said in a statement.

“We have announced a larger schedule at Heathrow for this round of strikes, because of the numbers of crew reporting for work.

“We will continue to operate 100 percent of our schedule at Gatwick and London City airports.

British Airways said it had operated more flights than planned on Sunday as cabin crew started a new five-day strike with little sign of a resolution to the long-running dispute.

“At Heathrow, we will operate to more than 70 percent of longhaul flights (up from more than 60 percent last week) and more than 55 percent of shorthaul flights (up from more than 50 percent this week).”

The Unite union challenged the figures, claiming BA had cancelled more than 100 flights on Sunday and said its action continued to be strongly supported.

The latest strike is aimed at the British half-term school holidays with another five-day stoppage planned from June 5, which would hit flights to the football World Cup in South Africa.

Derek Simpson, Unite’s joint leader, offered to conduct talks in the “full glare” of the media in a bid to find a breakthrough.

Simpson said people would be able to see how “unreasonable” BA chief executive Willie Walsh was being if they could witness the negotiations.

“I prefer these negotiations to be in front of a camera. Let the world see what this is all about. If people could see what he is doing, they would know who to blame,” Simpson told BBC TV.

He reiterated that the dispute could be resolved quickly if BA fully restored travel concessions taken away from crew who have gone on strike.

He said: “It is all about confidence of management in the workforce and of workforce in the management. Clearly there has been a breakdown. If we could get the confidence back a deal is do-able.”

The two sides met for 12 hours at the conciliation services Acas over two days last week, with little sign of a breakthrough.

Simpson claimed Walsh said he would only meet for further talks after Unite’s annual conference, which opens Monday in Manchester, and continues until the end of the current strike.

BA countered: “We remain available for talks at any time.”

This month, BA posted a record annual pre-tax loss of 531 million pounds.

The airline, which has been hit hard by the decreased demand for air travel, is slashing costs and merging with Spanish rival Iberia in a bid to return to profitability.

Source: SGGP

British Airways cabin crew launch new strike

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 5:17 am

LONDON, May 30, 2010 (AFP) – British Airways cabin crew started a fresh five-day strike on Sunday with little sign of a breakthrough in the long-running dispute between their union and the airline.

Joint general secretarys of the Unite union, Tony Woodley (C) and Derek Simpson (2nd R) address striking British Airways cabin crew on the third day of a five-day strike near Heathrow Airport on May 26, 2010. AFP photo

The latest strike by the Unite union is aimed at disrupting travel in the half-term school holidays in Britain, with a further five-day stoppage planned from June 5, which could hit flights to the football World Cup in South Africa.

Unite said it believed the 12 days of strikes since March had already cost BA 84 million pounds (121.5 million dollars, 99 million euros).

Talks between the two sides ended without agreement on Friday with Unite accusing BA chief executive Willie Walsh of blocking a resolution to the dispute on travel perks for cabin crew.

Derek Simpson, Unite’s joint leader, said: “He has refused to reinstate travel concessions in full despite Unite making it clear that the union would suspend the strike if he did so.

“It would cost BA nothing to reinstate these travel concessions yet Willie Walsh is prepared to see the strike continue.”

BA said it would increase its flying schedule in the coming week as more cabin crew than expected had decided to work as normal during the strikes.

Its schedule of long-term flights from its London Heathrow hub will be increased to more than 70 percent — up from more than 60 percent this week.

The short-haul schedule from the airport will rise to more than 55 percent of flights, up from more than 50 percent this week.

This month, BA posted a record annual pre-tax loss of 531 million pounds.

The airline, which has been hit hard by the decreased demand for air travel, is slashing costs and merging with Spanish rival Iberia in a bid to return to profitability.

Source: SGGP