Feeds

Workers at world's largest – and most remote – telescope go on strike

'More money and bennies, or no more pretty starbirth snaps,' demand ALMA staffers

High performance access to file storage

Workers at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, aka ALMA, have embarked upon a decidedly down-to-earth pursuit at the world's largest astronomical installation: they've gone on strike.

"The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array regrets that it was unable to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with its union," the observatory announced, noting that because of that failure a "legal strike" began at 8:00am on Thursday.

According to the Associated Press, nearly 200 workers are striking over equally down-to-earth demands: better pay and working conditions. To be specific, they want a 15 per cent rise in pay, and benefits that compensate them for the extreme conditions in which they work.

"Extreme" is no overstatement. ALMA is located at an elevation of 16,500 feet in Chile's Atacama Desert, which is among – if not the – driest spots on earth. It's also windy, cold, and as might be expected at 16,500 feet, a place with a rarified atmosphere not conducive to, say, spirited football matches during off hours.

The work stoppage comes just days after the $1.4bn installation, funded by the US, Europe, Japan, and Canada, proudly published a stirring image of a star being born, and just months after ALMA became fully operational this March.

"ALMA has activated a contingency plan that will enable it to continue basic operations" during the strike, the observatory said, noting that management is "confident that it will soon overcome these challenging times and continue to deliver fascinating scientific discoveries to the world." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.