MORE than 200 AENA (Airport Authority) workers demonstrated at Palma's Son Sant Joan airport yesterday, and threatened strike action, in keeping with colleagues all over Spain. They are protesting at AENA's plans to contract out various services.
Workers at airports all over Spain have been holding weekly protests, and say that they will continue with their plans for seven days of strikes in March and April. Union official Ignacio Knörr said in Palma yesterday that the management was refusing to talk, claiming that “we suspect that AENA is following government directives to fob us off until after the elections.” But, he added, “they have made a mistake and have misjudged the mood of the workers.” He said that a strike now seemed to be “inevitable,” because they are “playing with the future of many people and the workers will not stand for it any more.” AENA's plans to privatise services such as the fire fighters would jeopardise 800 jobs in the Balearics, Knörr said.
The strike has been called for March 5, 7, 9 and 12 and April 2, 7 and 11. AENA has withdrawn the proposal to contract out services, but the unions are demanding a commitment that it won't be taken up again at a later date. The management has declined to do so, and the unions say that they will not be satisfied until their jobs are guaranteed. AENA was considering farming out maintenance services (general buildings and heating), health, staff administration except for operations, and parking. It also included the possibility of privatising areas such as security, maintenance and fire fighting. Only marketing, infrastructures and navigational operations would be exempt.
The Balearic government wants a change in airport management, with the regional government, Island Councils and town halls being given a bigger say in how they are run.