Warning to UK holidaymakers with summer flights to Spain as fresh airport strikes loom
The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots is threatening to strike over the summer holidays which could impact more than 10 airlines
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The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (SEPLA) has threatened to stage several walkouts as part of an ongoing dispute with the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agency.
Union members are fighting against a “minimum services” law which requires pilots to work during industrial disputes to ensure 90% of scheduled flights go ahead.
SEPLA members at Air Nostrum and Air Europa are currently striking and have been since February, but the legislation means that 60 of the daily 80 flights are still running despite the walkouts.
The union is now understood to be considering staging more widespread strike action by members across different airlines in the coming weeks, which could disrupt flights during the busy summer holiday season.
SEPLA represents workers from more than 10 different airlines, meaning strike action could cause travel disruption to passengers heading to Spain and the Balaerics this summer with any of the following carriers, if walkouts go ahead:
- Air Nostrum
- Air Europa
- Iberia Express
- Plus Ultra
Air traffic controllers, flight attendants and ground staff could also join pilots in the strike action, according to the Majorca Daily Bulletin. In addition, Air Europa workers are considering expanding strike action to several more dates this month, including 22, 23, 25, 26, 29 and 30 May, plus 1 and 2 June at all Spanish bases.
It comes as British holidaymakers travelling to Spain, France, Italy and Portugal have been warned of potential disruption due to strikes over the coming weeks. Jet2 has told passengers that flights could be disrupted on Monday (22 May) due to strikes in Spain, supported by the Swissport Ground Handling Service in Reus, Barcelona, Almeria and Lanzarote (Arrecife).
The airline is also warning of strike action in Portugal on Monday, supported by the Portuguese Immigration Services, meaning passengers are likely to face longer queues at Border Control.
Holidaymakers travelling to and from France also face disruption due to ongoing strikes by Air Traffic Controllers. The strikes began on 14 March and are due to continue until 1 May, causing potential delays and disruption to flights operating to or through French airspace during this period.
The warnings come following strike disruption to flights heading to and from Italy last week, after ground handling services workers walked out on Friday (19 May). The dispute revolves around what Italian aviation union Cub Trasporti described as a six-year pay freeze, with the union claiming airports are cutting salaries to offer more competitive ground handling rates to airlines.
Meanwhile, here in the UK Heathrow security officers are due to strike for three days over May half-term. Members of the Unite union working at Terminal 5 will walk out from 25 to 27 May in a dispute over pay.
The airport has said no flights will be cancelled during the “completely unnecessary” strike and contingency plans have been put in place to minimise disruption, including deploying extra staff.
Heathrow has urged Unite to put its proposal of a 10% pay increase and £1,150 lump sum to a vote of its members after claiming the majority of staff “want to accept this offer”.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Passengers should not be concerned about strike action by Unite over the half-term getaway. The 15 days of strike action over the Easter peak and coronation weekends have had no impact on the smooth running of the airport, and passengers have not noticed any difference from the normal great service they expect at Heathrow.
“These strikes are completely unnecessary. When I speak to colleagues the overwhelming message is that they just want to vote on our pay offer, but Unite won’t let them. We made a generous 10% offer early on to make sure colleagues got a substantial increase when they needed it most. Unite’s delays mean non-union colleagues – as well as the majority of colleagues who are union members who voted to accept our previous offer – are losing out.”