Palma airport will obviously be affected if there are strikes. | Archive

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The CCOO, UGT and USO unions last week gave advance warning of their intention to call strikes at Spain's airports from September. They have now made this official. A schedule of strikes was today (Wednesday) presented to the Commission for Conciliation and Arbitration.

The strikes, if they go ahead, will be 24-hour stoppages on 25 days from 15 September. The dates are: 15, 17, 22, 24 and 29 September; 1, 6, 11, 15, 27, 30 and 31 October; 3 and 5 November; 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30 of December. Certain ones are timed for periods of high passenger movement, e.g. Christmas and the national day (12 October).

Since May, workers in the Aena Group, which means both Aena and Enaire*, have been making demands for improved salaries and for an employment plan. The unions said last week that if there wasn't any positive response to these demands, then strikes would be called. A meeting with the ministry of development (responsible for air transport) is scheduled for 31 August. It is being said that this might be delayed, though the UGT is also saying that it is confident that this meeting with the transport secretary-of-state, Julio Gómez-Pomar, will be productive in arriving at an agreement.

Unions argue that wage demands are justified because workers have lost eight per cent of their spending power since 2010, while Aena and Enaire have been registering "extraordinary results".

Different categories of airport worker would be affected by these strikes. They include airport fire crews, staff for aircraft refuelling and manoeuvring, retail and security personnel, and workers who maintain control towers.

* Enaire is the company which holds the 51% of Aena shares that were not privatised. It is also responsible for air navigation and airspace coordination/management via five control centres and 22 control towers. Aena, the airports authority, perhaps confusingly stands for Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea.