Union calls on Barcelona airport’s EasyJet staff to go on strike this summer
Workers want salary similar to company employees in other European countries
The USO union has called for EasyJet airlines’ cabin crew in Spain to go on strike for nine days over three weekends in July. Staff are set to stop working on July 1 to 3, 15 to 17, and 29 to 31.
In a statement, USO condemned the "blocked impasse" that the collective faces. The union wants workers to have salaries similar to other company staff based in other European countries such as Germany or France.
"The company does not have any interest in improving working conditions of the Spanish cabin crew," the union claims. There are over 450 cabin crew members called to strike, including those at the Barcelona El Prat airport.
The airline has reported that there will be flight "interruptions" at the Catalan airport as well as Palma de Mallorca and Malaga. However, they announced that they will do "everything possible" to minimize these interruptions.
"Spain’s cabin crew team has the lowest basic income of all European Easyjet hubs," USO said. Income is around €850 lower than other countries on the continent. "If you fly a lot of hours, you end up paying your invoices but reducing your break time and doing a higher number of flight hours."
Negotiations concerning working conditions started in February. On Tuesday it was announced that the Interconfederal Mediation and Arbitration Service Foundation (SIMA) could step in to mediate the process.
"USO hopes to reach an agreement or a commitment to keep going forward in the negotiation on working conditions," the union's statement reads.
The company has said that they have made "considerable progress" toward a new working conditions agreement and asked the unions to restart negotiations once again.
Easyjet is not the only airline whose workers have been called to go on strike. The USO and Sitcpla unions urge Ryanair’s cabin crew to stop working over two weekends: June 24-26 and June 30-July 2.
In a statement, the unions said that Ryanair employees continue to be treated like "third-class workers" and called on the company to comply with "basic labor rights and court rulings."
The low-cost carrier, however, has said it believes its employees will not go on strike.
This means, that on July 1 and July 2, both airlines could have workers on strike causing potential chaos at the Barcelona airport.
However, the FACUA consumers' association has already announced that all passengers affected by the strike are legally entitled to recover the cost of the plane ticket and to receive compensation. The only way the airline can deny compensation is if they have told any affected passenger that their flight was canceled two weeks prior or if the airline offers an alternative means of transport.
Europe travel chaos
As the demand for flights picks up once again following the worst of the pandemic, European airports have been faced with weeks of chaos at the beginning of the summer vacation season, prompting airlines and handling companies that operate out of Barcelona's El Prat to begin to ask workers to relocate to places like Schiphol (The Netherlands) or Gatwick (United Kingdom).
These are "temporary" work offers that, according to the CCOO and UGT unions, only 10 to 40 people have accepted.
"It is very, very, very unusual" to have this many airport workers relocated, CCOO's Jorge Carrillo told the Catalan News Agency (ACN).