EasyJet pilots in Spain are planning nine days of strike action in August

Aug 1, 2022

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This article has been updated.

Low-cost carrier easyJet’s strike woes look set to continue as the airline’s Spain-based pilots vote to strike for 9-days in August.

The Spanish aviation sector has been awash with strike action this year — not least by easyJet cabin crew who staged walkouts between 1 and 3 July, and then again from 15-17 July.

EasyJet narrowly avoided strike action amongst Spanish cabin crew last weekend at the 11th hour after making an improved salary offer to workers.

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Following the last minute suspension of the strike action, USO union General Secretary Miguel Galan said: “After weeks of strike action and months of negotiations, the company has made us an economic proposal that, without being exactly what we were demanding, does represent an important approach to the salaries and conditions of our colleagues in Europe.”

Originally set to last from 29-31 July, the 72-hour walkout would have impacted summer holiday plans and caused further headaches for the airline which had already seen a slew of flight cancellations due to worker shortages, air traffic problems and other logistical factors.

Perhaps buoyed by the revised pay offers for cabin crew, the airline’s Spain-based pilots are now planning their own walkout if easyJet bosses do not “re-establish pilots’ working conditions before the pandemic and provide its pilots with a new multi-year contract deal,” according to Reuters.

Here’s everything you need to know.

In This Post

When are the easyJet pilot strikes?

Easyjet’s Spain-based pilots are currently set to stage three 72-hour walkouts in the middle of August.

The industrial action is set to take place during the following periods:

  • 12-14 August
  • 19-21 August
  • 27-29 August

The strikes follow walkouts by the airline’s Spanish cabin crew who staged their own three-day walkouts in July, with each successive strike happening every two weeks.

The third set of cabin crew strikes was due to take place between 29-31 July but was suspended at the last moment following an improved pay and bonus offer from airline bosses. This is now being considered by union members though negotiations remain ongoing so watch this space.

Which flights could be impacted if the strikes go ahead?

Easyjet has said that they are aware of upcoming pilot strikes at the following Spanish hubs:

  • Barcelona’s El Prat airport (BCN)
  • Malaga Airport (AGP)
  • Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI)

An easyJet spokesperson told Reuters: “We are disappointed with this action at this critical time for the industry.”

Which staff were striking and why?

At the core of the conflict between union members and easyJet is worker salaries and working conditions.

The Sepla union which represents the Spanish easyJet pilots is demanding that the budget airline offers its pilots new multi-year contracts and re-establish pilots working conditions to how they were pre-pandemic. Failure to do so will result in the nine-days of strikes on the dates listed above.

This follows the USO, the Spanish trade union — representing 450 cabin crew workers —  requesting a 40% pay hike for its members. This proposed strike action of its members was called off last Thursday while members consider a revised offer from the airline.

“Spain’s cabin crew team has the lowest basic income of all European easyJet hubs,” USO said in a story in The Independent. The union spokesperson also claimed that its crew salaries are around £735 (€850) lower than workers in other European countries.

The USO’s Miguel Galan had previously said: “The conclusion is very clear; at easyJet there is money for everything except for Spain.”

Recently, the Verdi union, representing easyJet pilots and cabin crew in Germany, reached a pay increase deal with the airline to avoid industrial action.

Related: EasyJet confirms it is cancelling hundreds of summer flights

easyJet strikes in Spain have gone ahead this July (Photo by Horst Galuschka/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Bottom line

Right now it seems that strikes at easyJet are a weekly occurrence in Spain with employees of various disciplines speaking out about what they perceive to be unfair pay and bad working conditions.

We are however seeing breakthroughs, the delaying of cabin crew strikes last week was a boon for travellers, workers and the airline itself which hopes to minimise further disruption. EasyJet pilots will now be hoping to make similar gains and it’s entirely likely that they will be successful when considering the successes of other workers in recent weeks.

Here’s hoping the beleaguered airline can bring something to the table and avert any more disruption this summer.

Related: Plan Ahead: The key dates travel in Europe is set to be disrupted this summer

Featured image by: NurPhoto/Getty Images

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