Airport concerns during peak season. | Mateo Cladera

The UGT union says that most of the 2,600 workers who are employed by handling services at Balearic airports have "totally casual" employment contracts. This means, according to the union, that on occasions they can work no more than ten hours a month. This, in turn, means that in order to earn a thousand euros a month they have to have three jobs at the same time.

The workers find it difficult to comply with schedules set out by different handling operators and they run the risk of being dismissed from other jobs because of scheduling errors or changes to aircraft movement. Furthermore, the union says that the workers are unable to have acceptable breaks, as they can be obliged to work, for example, two hours in the morning, two in the afternoon and two in the evening.

The UGT blames the airports authority Aena for having added to this "precariousness" through its demands that handling operators reduce their fees to airlines by between 20 and 40%. All the cuts, argues the union, are affecting working conditions for those who are contracted for a few hours and on lousy wages.

Aena just washes its hands of the problem, insists the UGT, but it is warning the authority of "possible chaos" at Balearic airports this summer.

In order to lessen the casual nature of baggage handlers' jobs, the union wants Aena to set minimum prices for workers in the tenders for the handling concessions. It concludes by observing that record seasons at the airports are not being reflected by better working conditions, the consequence, it says, of labour reforms by the Partido Popular.