Airport workers want better pay, following years of barely any wage increases. | Archive

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Exceltur, the alliance for touristic excellence, is warning that strikes by airport staff would be "horrific". Jose Luis Zoreda, vice-president of this organisation for leading companies in the travel and tourism industry, adds that strikes would be "bad news" for Spain's tourism. As an example, he draws attention to the chaos at Barcelona airport, where security check personnel have been on strike and the Guardia Civil have had to be called in.

If they go ahead, the strikes would start on 15 September and affect all airports in the Aena network. Zoreda says that there will be delays, cancellations, security deficiencies and a lack of management for flights. They would have "international repercussions" and "enormous consequences" for Spain. He stresses that Aena's management should not only be judged by its financial results but also by its ability to offer the best possible public service.

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Aena and Enaire, which holds the government's shares in Aena and is responsible for air navigation, both agree with the unions' basic demands for better pay. The three unions - UGT, CCOO and USO - have made these demands because of years of wage freezes or slight increases at a time when Aena and Enaire have been turning in ever-improved results.

Although their managements accept the need to increase pay, they are bound by constraints on public-sector wage agreements. The ministry of finance would have to give its approval for any settlement that goes beyond rules for budgetary stability.

The unions announced last week that there will be 24-hour stoppages on 25 days from 15 September until the end of December. Airport staff which would be affected include, among others, security check personnel.