Strike

Palma aiport

22-07-2008GERMAN G. LAMA

Brussels appears to have taken care of air traffic controllers in Marseille, but there is more talk of strike action. Balearic airports escaped the chaos of industrial action by air traffic controllers at Palma airport last weekend after Brussels ordered French workers to operate as normal.

But, this summer remains threatened by industrial action on various fronts.

Over the next few days, union representatives for ground staff at Son San Joan airport will be meeting Spanish Airport Authority (AENA) bosses to demand more staff and they have warned that unless they get assurances that more people will be taken on, industrial action will be taken during the peak summer months. “It’s our only option,” a union source said yesterday.

The ground staff who are particularly worried about a lack of sufficient employees to handle the increase in flights are the “follow me” teams which handle planes when they land and depart. This year, the number of flights being handled per hour by Palma airport has increased by 80 percent, but the workforce has remained the same and the unions maintain that staff cannot cope with neither the demand nor the pressure.

And, tour operators and travel agents have also expressed their concerns by possible strikes by pilots working for Vueling and Ryanair cabin crew, although they are confident that a deal will be reached to avert a strike by air traffic controllers in Barcelona which will cause flight chaos in the Balearics if it does finally go ahead.

However, it appears that both sides involved in negotiations are moving closer to a deal.

Ryanair cabin crew met in Dublin yesterday to draw up their list of demands and examine what industrial action they can take depending on the airlines response.

And Vueling pilots want better working conditions.

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