UNIONS representing Spanish Airports Authority (AENA) staff, yesterday called off strike action that had been planned across the country for dates in March and April. The sudden turn of events follows an agreement reached with Airports Authority management concerning the withdrawal of the company's plans to bring in private companies to replace the current workforce. “AENA have finally accepted the Union demands related to both the withdrawal of management proposals to privatise airport services and to the guarantee of jobs” explained the Strike Committee. Today, the Committee is to present the outline of the agreement to the Workers Assembly, which, claim Union representatives, will be ratified “almost 100 percent” by the 8'000 workers. “Aena has accepted almost all our stipulations and therefore, saving something going wrong at the last moment, there will be no problems in dismantling strike preparations” said the Strike Committee. At Palma's Son Sant Joan airport, a total of 27 Airport Authority staff were preparing yesterday to set up a skeleton staff in readiness for the industrial action which had been planned for today at 7am. Yesterday, a gathering of 150 workers paralysed the airport of Seville for 2 hours, impeding the take-off and landing of 6 and 3 planes respectively.
Following two weeks of negotiations, AENA has finally accepted the complete withdrawal of the services privatisation project set out in a draft document entitled “Privatisation Proposals”. According to the Unions, the implementation of this strategy would have meant redundancy for approximately 70 percent of the Spanish Airports Authority's workforce. Union sources claim the Airports Authority was planning “privatisation of 90 percent of the services currently provided by the public company workforce”. Amongst other ventures, the project set out guidelines for the privatisation of maintenance services (including general building upkeep and air conditioning), cleaning, administration of human resources except operations and networks, as well as parking management. Similarly, it included the possibility of privatising other key areas such as airport security, maintenance, environmental quality and fire extinguishing. In conclusion, only the areas of commercial management, infrastructure and airport operations (air traffic control) would have been omitted from the Airports Authority's privatisation plans.