Iberia ground staff strike for Friday and Saturday called off
Workers and company reach agreement after long negotiations
Iberia ground staff were expecting to strike on Friday and Saturday this week, and then again on August 3 and 4, but the protest has been called off after long negotiations.
The workers and the representatives from the airline reached an agreement on Wednesday, thus paving the way for an easier week at Catalan airports.
A strike by Ryanair pilots is expected on Thursday and Friday, and taxi drivers will also stop working the same days.
Here’s a guide to the different strikes, their dates and the cause behind the conflict, including those recently canceled.
July 25-26: Ryanair cabin crew
Low-cost airline Ryanair has canceled some 400 flights in and out of airports in Spain due to a cabin crew strike called for July 25 and 26, which will also affect Portugal and Belgium.
Ryanair estimates that the two days of the strike will affect up to 600 flights around Europe, and that some 100,000 passengers will have their travel plans disrupted. Yet, the firm insists that the majority of its customers will not be affected.
What’s more, the company said that it has already contacted the customers that will be affected, offering them alternative flights, or the cost of their tickets returned.
The Spanish Workers’ Union (USO) expects turnout for the strike to be very high, due to the crews’ current working conditions: “75% of the workforce is hired through temp companies subject to Irish legislation, without a basic salary, earning only for flight hours, which causes tremendous job insecurity and instability.”
July 25-26: Barcelona taxis
The taxis in Barcelona and its surroundings will go on a 48-hour strike between Wednesday and Thursday, an action to protest against Spanish government measures that could lift the limit of licenses for car service apps such as Uber and Cabify.
The city council of Barcelona passed legislation to limit the number of licenses for car services apps to one for every 30 taxis. The Spanish government challenged the norm in court, which has temporarily been suspended. Yet, the Madrid executive opened the door to transferring competences over car service licenses to Spain's autonomous communities (including Catalonia).
July 27-28 and August 3-4: Iberia ground crew (canceled)
The ground crew of Iberia, Spain’s flag carrier airline, called two strikes for July 27 and 28, and August 3 and 4. More than 2,000 workers are expected to join the industrial action, which could also have affected the Catalan airline, Vueling.
The reasons for the protest included an extension of working hours in order to attend Vueling’s passengers. Finally, the strike was called off on Wednesday.
Spain’s ground crew (canceled)
A strike set for July 31 by ground staff in airports all over Spain, including Barcelona, was called off on Friday. The planned stoppage was canceled after three days of intense talks between unions and the employers association representing airport companies. Some 60,000 ground crew working in airports all across Spain were called to join the industrial action.
High-speed train strikes (canceled)
Workers of Spain’s high-speed trains called five days of strikes: July 26 and 31, and August 1, 3, and 10. However, the UGT union announced that the action was canceled to avoid causing passengers trouble and to give the company’s new board more time, yet they also stress that the problem hasn’t been solved.
What can you do?
The European Commission (EC) urged passengers to know and demand their rights when they travel, as "it is likely" that companies do not inform them that they have the option to compensation in the event of delays, or lost luggage, for example. The representative for the EC in Barcelona, Ferran Tarradellas, underlines that European legislation guarantees "the right to inform you of your rights, which airlines should do automatically."
The three most recurring cases are denied boarding, a canceled flight, and the delay or loss of luggage. Each of these incidents corresponds to a series of rights that protect passengers. "You have the right to be treated as a person: if the flight is more than two hours late, you must be given food and drink," explains Tarradellas.
The CE representative says that airlines "meet standards when they are called upon," to do so, but also encourages them to inform their clients. Given the lack of knowledge, the institution has launched a conscientious campaign consisting of three videos of less than one minute.