Spain-based cabin crew, of low-budget airline easyJet are set to hold a nine-day strike (huelga) over the course of July, causing further mayhem for travellers during the busy summer holiday period.
The announcement was made on June 21st and comes just days after the union representing Ryanair announced that the Spain-based cabin crew would strike on June 24th, 25th, 26th and 30th, as well as July 1st and 2nd.
Ryanair’s staff in Belgium, France, Italy and Portugal have also announced that they will join their Spanish counterparts and strike on June 24th, 25th and 26th.
Earlier this week easyJet, the UK’s biggest carrier, confirmed that it would be forced to cancel approximately 11,000 flights this summer. And now, confirmation has come from union USO, who represents about 80% of EasyJet’s cabin crew across Spain, that staff will strike in three 72-hour periods at fortnightly intervals from July 1st.
As things stand, the strikes that will affect flights from Barcelona, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca, are scheduled to take place on July 1st, 2nd and 3rd, then 15th, 16th and 17th and lastly 29th, 30th, 31st.
No confirmation has yet been given as to whether flights will actually be cancelled over these three weekends.
A spokesperson for easyJet said, “We are extremely disappointed with this action as we have made considerable progress towards a new collective labour agreement and so would like to continue a constructive dialogue with them.
“Should the industrial action go ahead there could be some disruption to our flying programme to and from Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona during the strike period but at this stage, easyJet plans to operate its full schedule and we would like to reassure customers that we will do everything possible to minimise any disruption.”
The strikes are said to be due to the low salaries that Spain-based cabin crew receive and the USO claims that talks over a wage increase are in a “deadlock situation” but they are still open to further negotiations.
Miguel Galán, secretary-general of USO spoke to journalists on Tuesday saying “Currently, easyJet crew members in Spain have a base salary of €950, which is €850 less than the base salary in France or Germany.”
However, easyJet said that it pays cabin crew "competitive" rates, and it was "extremely disappointed" about the call to strike action.
Talks were scheduled to continue yesterday, June 21, at the Interconfederal Mediation and Arbitration Service (SIMA).
Over the last few months, UK travellers have faced flight cancellations and delays, as airlines and airports struggle to cope with the increased demand after cutting workers during the Covid lockdown period.
In fact, on Monday, Heathrow Airport saw flight cancellations, as approximately 30 flights carrying up to 5,000 passengers were cancelled due to baggage-handling problems.
Also on Monday easyJet announced that between July and September it will only be able to operate 90% of its usual services in Europe. This is because Gatwick Airport said that due to staff shortages, the number of flights would be reduced during the peak summer period.
How many flights will be cancelled has not been clarified but the airline, which is headed by Johan Lundgren, has assured that it will notify affected passengers in time and offer them the possibility of making a new booking on alternative flights.
According to the European Trade Union Institute, striking is a fundamental right in Spain, and strikes affecting one company can in fact be called by unions, worker representatives or workers themselves.