By Humphrey Carter

THE summer of discontent continues with baggage handlers and ground staff at Balearic airports threatening industrial action this weekend which could affect half of all flights and their passengers.

Employees of handling company Acciona Airport yesterday voted in favour of a rolling protest which will start this Saturday, continue on Sunday and be repeated on July 1 should their demands for better pay and working hours be ignored.

The strike action by 1'000 staff could have “serious repercussion” at each of the three Balearic airports, according to CGT union bosses yesterday.
It appears that the three other main unions, the UGT, the CCOO and the USO had agreed on a new package with Acciona bosses on behalf of their members but CGT, which represents the largest number of Acciona Airport staff in the Balearics, maintains that the deal is inadequate and has to be renegotiated on their terms. CGT sources said that many of its members are having to work in poor conditions for poor pay and have little option but to work over time in order to make it to the end of the month.

The major problem is that Acciona Airport is not only responsible for baggage handling but also a number of ground staff services such as refueling aircraft, catering and transporting passengers to and from their flights.

All parties involved in the dispute met before an arbitration board yesterday but the meeting proved futile.
This Saturday, the industrial action will be taken between 1.30pm and 3.30pm with the protest rolling over into Sunday and the following Saturday at the same times should the dispute continue.

Minimum services will be maintained but only for scheduled flights.
The industrial action by ground staff will come in the wake of the recent protests in the Balearics by farmers, truckers and fishing fleets over fuel prices, teachers, Calvia Local Police and medical strikes over pay and working conditions and the current rail dispute in Majorca.