MILLIONS OF HOLIDAYMAKERS – including thousands of Irish – could see their holiday plans ruined after staff in Spanish airports announced a series of strikes from April to July.The scheduled walkouts – which are set to begin on April 20, and continue well into the peak holiday season in July – involves around 12,500 ground staff employed by the state-owned airport authority, Aena.
They are walking out in protest at state plans to privatise the authority, which could see many of them lose their jobs, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The impact of the strike action could spread further, the Telegraph adds, if the country’s air traffic controllers joined in the actions – because flights to Portugal and Morocco would also be affected, given they travel through Spanish airspace.
Airports in the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands are also affected by the proposed action.
Ryanair said the action – if it was to ultimately take place – would see it cancel around 300 flights over the Easter period, affecting the plans of 57,000 passengers across its European operations.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary has called on the European Union to intervene in the dispute, saying its effects stretch far beyond Spanish borders.
The Independent reports, however, that the disruption will not mean an immediate government response; when similar wildcat strikes took place last year, the government indicated it would not look favourably on any action intended to disrupt its vital tourism industry.e
The 22 various day-long stoppages are led by three trade unions which are opposed to the part-privatisation of the airport authority, a move that Reuters believes could raise as much as €30bn for the state.
The dates specified for the strikes are 20, 21, 24, 25 and 30 April; 2, 14, 15, 19 and 20 May; 13, 23 and 30 June; 1, 2, 3, 4, 15 and 31 July; and 1, 15 and 31 August.