Portugal’s Lisbon airport handlers strike causes cancellation of over two hundred flights

Portugal's Lisbon airport handlers strike causes cancellation of over two hundred flights. image: Twitter

Portugal’s Lisbon airport two-day handlers strike has so far caused the cancellation of over two hundred flights.

Over two hundred flights, 247 so far, had to be cancelled at Lisbon airport on Saturday, July 17, at the start of a two-day strike by Groundforce handling company workers. More cancellations are likely before the action ends on Sunday evening, said the company that manages Portugal’s airports (ANA).

Portugal's Lisbon airport
Passengers at Lisbon airport on Saturday night waiting for information on their cancelled flights.

A spokesman for the Union of Airport Handling Technicians, which called the strike, told local news agency Lusa that around 100% of workers had taken part in the strike in Lisbon on Saturday, which is the busiest airport in the country.

The strike has had a huge impact on the Portuguese flag company TAP, which uses Groundforce’s handling services, however, the strike has not affected low-cost carriers.

Groundforce workers are demanding that the handling company, which is in serious financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, pay wages without any delay and this year’s holiday pay.

The strike mainly affects the operation of Lisbon airport, and has little impact on the remaining 9 Portuguese airports, ANA chief executive Thierry Ligonnière said.

“We still anticipate difficulties tomorrow and a progressive return to normal on Monday,” Ligonnière told reporters.

Groundforce is 50.1% owned by the Portuguese firm Pasogal and 49.9% by the TAP-Air Portugal group, which in turn is 72.5% controlled by the Portuguese State.

TAP offered to lend the money necessary for Groundforce to pay the holiday pay to its workers, but the proposal was turned down by the handling company.

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Ron Howells

Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!. Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.


    • Ruben Gomes

      19 July 2021 • 00:01

      I work for Groundforce and at the end of the month we dont know if we get paid and how much…this is our life for the last 6 months. Our government spent around 3MM€ to save TAP PORTUGAL and they dont have 50 or 60M€ to save us since we are 50% public company. In the end of July and begining of August we will fight again for our salaries and our job and we promise to “burn down” all the portuguese airports. We dont ask for any salary raise ( 1 in 10 years)…we only want our rights. Portugal became a ditatorial country for hard and honest workers


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