New strikes will bring more travel chaos to airlines and airports – latest updates
Anxious holidaymakers could face more problems this week with ongoing problems with flight cancellations and airport delays. It’s not just UK passengers facing disruptions with hubs and carriers across Europe who are reporting staffing issues that could impact travel plans.
Many are scrambling to hire more workers with vacancies ranging from pilots to security and border control staff and baggage handlers after many left or were made redundant during the Covid-19 crisis. Industry executives have expressed concerns about recruitment for relatively low-paying jobs at airports, while training staff and obtaining security clearances can take time.
Some staff at London Heathrow airport voted to strike on Thursday after the airline failed to reverse a 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic, with the first walkout due to take place during the period peak of summer holidays starting in July.
Strikes in Belgium to protest the rising cost of living forced Brussels Airport to cancel all departing flights on Monday. More walkouts are possible.
Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, Paris
Workers at France’s main airport went on strike earlier this month, on June 9, to demand a 300 euro per month raise and better working conditions, resulting in the cancellation of 25% of flights. Further actions are scheduled for July 2.
Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports need to fill 4,000 jobs mainly in security, maintenance and travel retail.
Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam
One of Europe’s busiest airports needs to hire 500 security guards. Before the pandemic, there were 68,000 workers employed around the airport, now there are only 58,000.
Around 20% of security, check-in and aircraft handling jobs are vacant, with a shortage of 2,000 workers in ground handling. There have been requests to allow the industry to hire 2,000 temporary workers from Turkey.
Spain and Portugal
The police will deploy 500 additional staff to the country’s busiest holiday airports, including Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Malaga, Madrid and Barcelona. Meanwhile, the Portuguese government plans to more than double border control staff at the country’s six airports by July 4.
The low-cost airline has announced that it is cutting thousands of flights this summer, including from Gatwick and Manchester. Spain-based cabin crew also plan to strike for nine days in July, demanding a 40% increase in their basic pay, which would be lower than that of their French and German counterparts.
Some cabin crew members are staging a three-day strike in Belgium, Spain and Portugal in a dispute over wages and working conditions, forcing the budget airline to cancel dozens of flights. Staff in France and Italy are also expected to strike over the next weekend.
Ground staff are asking for at least 350 euros more per month over 12 months to cushion the effects of soaring inflation, with the first round of negotiations due to take place on June 30.
Around 1,000 SAS pilots in Denmark, Norway and Sweden will retire on June 29 in a row over wages and cost-cutting plans.
Check-in staff at Heathrow also voted to strike over a pay dispute. The airline responded to the outcome of a union vote: “We are extremely disappointed with the result and that the unions have chosen to follow this course.
“Despite the extremely difficult environment and losses of over £4bn, we made an offer to pay 10% which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues. We are fully committed to working together to find a solution, because to deliver to our customers and rebuild our business, we need to work as a team.
“We will of course keep our customers informed of what this means for them as the situation evolves.”