MADRID – The union of handling services workers at AENA airports has announced a strike between December 4 and 10. That’s exactly during the long weekend due to two days off.
The first is Día de la Constitución on Wednesday, December 6. And the second is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Friday, December 8. The UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores) has planned the strike as a protest against the situation that has arisen following the outcome of the tender for these services. The exact date of the strike has yet to be determined. But the action will continue until the parties involved “take their responsibilities”.
The conflict revolves around uncertainty about labour stability in the sector. According to UGT, AENA has not made clear and concrete commitments about how to deal with violations of the employment contract. The union accuses AENA of being merely a “trustee of allocations”, without taking action against companies that fail to comply with the agreement.
Violations of employment conditions
Over the past seven years, several violations of employment conditions have occurred at “all companies,” according to UGT. This has led to thousands of lawsuits, collective conflicts and strike calls. In addition, licenses have been granted to companies that were already in violation of the employment contract. The union emphasises that AENA has not included any sanction or exclusion mechanisms for companies that do not comply with their obligations, thereby evading AENA’s responsibility as a public promoter towards employees.
Disruptions for travellers to and from Spain
This announced strike could cause significant disruption to travellers flying to and from Spain during the busy December period. The action underlines the ongoing tensions between labour organisations and aviation managers over employment conditions and compliance with agreements. The union is critical of the current tender system and AENA’s supervision of compliance with employment conditions by contractors. AENA is now faced with the challenge of finding a solution that guarantees both the interests of employees and the continuity of airport services.
AENA (Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea), is the Spanish national airport operator and air traffic controller. It is one of the largest airport operators in the world. It operates 46 airports and 2 heliports in Spain, including major international hubs such as Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona El Prat. AENA is responsible for the planning, construction and maintenance of airport infrastructure, management of air navigation services and coordination of airport security.
The company was privatised in 2010 and part of its shares are traded on the stock exchange. AENA plays a crucial role in supporting tourism and the economy in Spain, a country that relies heavily on the aviation industry for its connectivity with the rest of the world.