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Barcelona airport workers call new strike

Security staff reject the compulsory arbitration forced by the Spanish government claiming their working conditions remain poor

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05 September 2017 02:05 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The labor dispute between security workers at Barcelona airport and Eulen — the private company appointed by state-owned Aena to handle security — was expected to end last Thursday with the announcement of a mandatory settlement following a compulsory arbitration imposed by the Spanish government. Spanish infrastructure minister, Íñigo de la Serna, said the arbitration had “put an end” to the conflict.

So far, though, the dispute seems very likely to continue.

Security staff called new strikes for October 6 arguing that their working conditions remain poor and some improvements included in the final agreement are not being respected by Eulen.

  • “A worker is telling us that she started working at 4 am and could not go to the bathroom until noon”

    Leopoldo García Quintero · Workers' lawyer

Workers claim the company failed to incorporate more staff, which would reduce a workload which they deem as too great. “A worker is telling us that she started working at 4 am and could not go to the bathroom until noon,” said workers’ lawyer Leopoldo García Quintero.

Not only have their working conditions not improved, in some cases they even have gotten worse, workers claim. According to them, since the labor dispute started — and especially after the compulsory arbitration ended — Eulen is putting more pressure on them. “They’re making their life impossible,” García Quintero said.

Workers called off a strike to be held on September 8 after the compulsory arbitration forced Eulen to rehire workers who had been allegedly retaliated against for not complying with the mandatory minimum services during previous strikes.

Workers challenged the Spanish government's decision to force compulsory arbitration in the Supreme Court, claiming the process is unconstitutional and infringes workers’ rights. The complaint was accepted and the court has already started to gather information.

Juan Carlos Giménez, an adviser to the workers, acknowledges the apparent contradiction of challenging the compulsory arbitration while complaining that Eulen is not complying with it. “We are clutching at straws,” he said.

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  • Security checks at Barcelona airport (by ACN)