Barcelona Airport users doomed to more lines as workers reject Catalan government's offer
Employees determined to go on an indefinite strike starting Monday
Lines will continue to grow at Barcelona airport security checkpoints as the staff on strike decided on Thursday not to accept an offer including a €200-monthly pay raise made by the Catalan government earlier this week. The employees voted in an assembly to demand a €250-salary hike distributed over 15 payments a year, while the authorities’ proposal only included 12 pay checks. The chaos at the airport, owned and managed by the Spanish centrally-administrated public company Aena, has been dragging on since July 24. However, the situation is likely to worsen after next Monday –unless an agreement is reached over the weekend.
Employees had threatened to hold an indefinite strike beginning August 14 after some three weeks of partial stoppages at the security checkpoints. Several multilateral meetings, different proposals and a couple of workers’ assemblies over the past few days gave the feeling that an agreement might come before the deadline. However, in the end it was not to be and the outlook is gloomy for passengers using Barcelona airport over the next few days.
Now Catalan and Spanish authorities are trying to find a way out of the deadlock. The Catalan ministers of territory, employment and home affairs held a meeting with the Spanish minister of infrastructures on Friday to tackle the current situation in which they offered that the Catalan police mitigate the effects of the strike. However, their interlocutor said that Madrid will increase the number of Spain’s Guardia Civil officers instead, although in principle they will only ensure safety in the area without contributing to security controls.
Catalan government sets Sunday deadline for employees to accept its offer
Both administrations agreed to work together and the territory minister explained that the Catalan government has given the strikers until the end of Sunday to reply to its proposal. That means holding another assembly and vote only on that specific offer. In the vote held on Thursday employees could vote for four options, the worst of which was the mediators’ offer. If workers ignore the deadline, a mandatory arbitration may be enforced.
The Catalan government has no power over airport policy, but it does have competencies regarding labor mediation. Within this context, starting on the second day after the outbreak of the conflict, it called different meetings between Eulen, the company in charge of the service, and its employees. The government's mediation culminated in an offer but, in the meantime, some of its spokespeople put pressure on the Spanish government to take action. Aena is the owner of the airport and the one that outsourced the security service to Eulen, but it rejected taking part in the mediation until the 12th day of the chaos.