Spanish holiday chaos: EasyJet and Ryanair set for 15 days of major strikes
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Sun-hunting holidaymakers heading to Spain this summer could be set for yet more disruption after local crews with easyJet revealed plans to go on strike just weeks after it was announced that Ryanair staff would do the same.
Spanish unions are demanding both airlines boost pay and improve conditions for their members or face a series of walkouts in June and July.
It will be of particular concern for Brits heading to either Malaga or Palma de Mallorca on the first weekend of July, where the walkouts from the staff at the two airlines are set to overlap at both airports.
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In news that could scarcely come at a worse time for easyJet, Unión Sindical Obrera said talks — that have been rumbling on since February — were in “a deadlock situation” and that there was no course of action left but to call a series of 24-hour strikes across nine days in July.
It said its members who work at El Prat, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca airports will walk out from 1-3 July, on 15-17 July and on 29-31 July.
Meanwhile, Ryanair members of the USO and SITCPLA unions have also voted to strike in a similar dispute over pay and conditions.
Ryanair walked away from the table last week, saying the unions’ demands were “unreasonable”. And so, in a move to destabilise Ryanair’s operations in all of its bases across the country, the union said staff will walk out on 24-26 and 30 June and 1-2 July.
This means the two strikes would overlap on Friday 1 July and Saturday 2 July.
However, Ryanair’s lawyers are seeking to block disruptions through a legal technicality that will void its staff’s right to strike.
If the airline can persuade Spain’s Ministry of Transport that 100% of the flights scheduled during the proposed action should be considered “minimum services”, under Spanish law they will have to work.
Union representatives, however, have asked the transport ministry to set just half of the flights to the Balearics and the Canary Islands as minimum services and a quarter for mainland Spain.
If they go ahead, the strikes will affect operations at all of Ryanair’s Spanish bases in Madrid, Málaga, Seville, Alicante, Valencia, Barcelona, Girona, Santiago de Compostela, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca.
What exactly do easyJet’s Spanish staff want?
The strike could not come at a worse time for easyJet which has already been forced to cancel hundreds of flights in a bid to stabilise its beleaguered summer flight schedule.
Effectively, the USO is asking for a 40% pay rise for its members. They claim that this would bring pay in line with their French and German counterparts.
Currently, easyJet’s Spanish crew get basic pay of €950 per month (£816), which excludes bonuses and extra pay.
What exactly do Ryanair’s Spanish staff want?
USO and SITCPLA claim that their Ryanair members are not covered under Spanish labour legislation which would, among other things, guarantee them 22 days of paid leave per year or 14 national holidays.
They also want the right to reduce their working hours due to legal guardianship or family care and complain that their contracts are not written in Spanish.
Ryanair denies that its agreements with Spanish workers are not covered by Spanish labour laws. “We are aware of a number of falsehoods expressed by these unions in the Spanish media,” it said. “Ryanair fully complies with all Spanish labour legislation, all of our employees in Spain have Spanish employment contracts and full Spanish labour rights”.
Ryanair has said it does not believe its staff in Spain will support the strike and has reassured passengers that services will run as planned.
The strikes may yet be called off if agreements are reached with both airlines. However, if they are not they could cause widespread disruption for British holidaymakers with flights booked to Spain.
So, to be completely safe, if you’re planning on a trip to Spain on any of those dates, it might be worth booking with another airline.
Here is a breakdown of exactly how each strike may unfold.
- Proposed strike dates: 1, 2, 3, 15, 16 and 17 July and on 29, 30 and 31 July
- Potentially affected destinations: El Prat, Málaga and Palma de Mallorca
- Proposed strike dates: 24, 25, 26 and 30 June and 1 and 2 July
- Potentially affected destinations: Madrid, Málaga, Seville, Alicante, Valencia, Barcelona, Girona, Santiago de Compostela, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca.
Featured image by Photo by pixelliebe/Getty Images.
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