Spanish airport strike to cause peak time holiday misery

Spanish airport workers have threatened to walk out for a total of 19 days during peak holiday periods in a row over airport privatisation.

Spanish airport strikes
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Unions have planned the action to cause as much disruption as possible, with strikes beginning at Easter on April 20 and continuing through other busy times in May, June and July.

It is further bad news not only for Spain's tourism industry (the Spanish government were forced to declare a state of emergency before Christmas to prevent air traffic controllers from striking), but for British tourists who could face travel chaos throughout spring and summer.

Three unions representing 12,500 airport staff are behind the action and, with baggage handlers and fire crews set to strike, Spanish airports could grind to a halt.

Their concern is that government plans to sell 49 per cent of the airport operator and privatise management of Madrid and Barcelona airports may result in slashed wages and benefit cuts.

Juan Ignacio, president of airports authority AENA, said: "A strike is the worst scenario. We will do everything we can to avoid it. A strike would seriously damage the tourist sector at a time when the outlook for Easter and summer are very encouraging.

"I urge the unions to negotiate."

If the situation is not resolved, holidaymakers booked to travel on April 20, 21, 24, 25 and 30 could face a nightmare journey. Those who booked prior to the dates being announced may receive some compensation from holiday insurance but further strikes are set for May, June and July.

Ryanair estimates that a total of 300 flights will need to be cancelled over Easter alone and boss Michael O'Leary has urged the EU to refuse airport workers the right to strike.

During a visit to Madrid, he said: "It's unacceptable that Spanish airport workers with their selfish strikes can hold an entire country to ransom."

What do you think? Should airport staff be stripped of their right to strike? Leave a comment in the box below...
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