Brits heading to Spain face holiday chaos as pilots consider striking

Brits heading to Spain face a potential summer of chaos as pilots at a dozen airlines including Ryanair and easyJet consider strike action

  • Spain’s airline pilots union is considering taking strike action over the summer
  • The union has pilot representation in airlines like Ryanair, easyJet, and Jet 2

Brits heading for Spain this summer are facing major disruption as more than a dozen airlines consider strike action.

The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (Sepla) is considering carrying out different strikes during the summer in all the airlines represented by the union.

Currently, Sepla has union representation in Air Nostrum, Air Europa, Iberia, Iberia Express, Vueling, Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian, Swiftair, Plus Ultra, Jet 2, Eurowings and Evelop.

The Union says it is very unhappy that on current strike days called by Air Nostrum and Air Europa, Spanish legislation calls for a minimum of 90 per cent of the norm which decreases the impact of the action. This means that of about 80 scheduled flights per day that airlines have, only about 18-20 flights are cancelled.

The strike possibility was announced by the Secretary General of Sepla, Javier Fernández-Picazo, at a press conference today, in which he explained that the measure ‘is on the table’ but there is still no decision.

Brits are facing major disruption as more than a dozen airlines consider strike action. Pictured: Holidaymakers crowd Levante Beach in Benidorm on April 8, 2023

The union has representation in airlines including Ryanair, easyJet, and Jet 2. Pictured: Ryanair Boeing 737-800 airplane at Barcelona airport, February 21, 2022

‘It would be a decision that must be assessed and negotiated,’ he stressed.

Sepla is also hoping to involve other groups within the aviation sector, such as cabin crew (TCP) and air traffic controllers, or even those of road transport.

Mr. Fernández-Picazo said the minimum service regulation meant airlines didn’t feel any pressure to enter negotiations.

Sepla says it is interfering with the ‘constitional right to strike’.

‘There are some 14 judgments or resolutions of the National Court that ask the administration not to violate the fundamental right of workers to strike and to respect it,’ said Mr. Fernández-Picazo.

Chief delegate of Sepla in Air Nostrum, Manuel Reyes said it was ‘inconceivable’ that ‘the Government allows the company to hide behind abusive minimum services and thus avoid reaching a consensus.’

And chief delegate of Sepla at Air Europa, Carlos Sánchez warned the action of pilots ‘will not stop’ and foresees new strikes this summer ‘if the management of the airline continues to refuse to listen to the salary and labour claims of the workers.’

People enjoy the sunny weather on Illetes beach, on the Balearic island of Mallorca, Spain April 6, 2023

On May 8, Sepla announced the call for eight new strike days at Air Europa for May 22, 23, 25, 26, 29 and 30 and June 1 and 2 at all bases and work centres in Spain. Previously, strikes were already held on the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th of this month.

This Friday’s call was led by the Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (Sepla), the Workers’ Union (USO), the Union of Airline Passenger Cabin Crew (Sitcpla) and the Spanish Union of Maintenance Technicians Aeronautical (Asetma).

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