Travel chaos as second day of air traffic control strike in Spain goes ahead

Travel chaos as second day of air traffic control strike in Spain goes ahead

Travel chaos as second day of air traffic control strike in Spain goes ahead. Alfredo Maiquez/

Some travellers in Spain have been hit again on Monday, February 6, as air traffic controllers began their second day of planned strike action.

The strike in the privatised control towers at various Spanish airports, called by the CCOO and USCA trade unions, began last Monday, January 30.

Today’s industrial action is the second one in a series of five strikes that have been called, taking place every Monday between January 30 and February 27, and it involves around 160 workers.

Flight disruption is believed to have been minimal so far, but one union chief has indicated that industrial action could continue ‘continue all the way through Easter week or maybe even summer’.

The air traffic controllers in the 16 affected airports – A Coruna, Alicante-Elche, Castellon, Cuatro Vientos, El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Jerez, Lanzarote, La Palma, Lleida, Murcia, Sabadell, Sevilla, Valencia and Vigo – are all working for private companies as opposed to being employed by the Spanish state.

They say they are the “worst-paid” air traffic controllers in Europe and the only ones who have to pay for their own training.

Minimum services have been set by the government depending on the type of route.

They will operate at 100 per cent in the case of emergency flights, the transfer of citizens or foreigners in the custody of police officers, and the transport of universal postal mail or perishable goods.

For commercial flights with routes to or from non-peninsular territories, minimum services range from 52 per cent in Lerida to 84 per cent in La Coruña, depending on the estimated occupancy.

In the case of routes with foreign or Spanish cities with a road journey time of at least five hours, minimum services range from 44 per cent in La Palma to 57 per cent in Alicante.

On routes where journeys can be replaced by other means of public transport in less than five hours, the minimum services are between 18 per cent in Castellon and 30 per cent in Vigo.

The conflict originated with Saerco’s winning of the contract to control Lot 2, which comprises the airport facilities at Jerez, Seville, Cuatro Vientos, Vigo, and La Coruña.

These were previously in the hands of FerroNats, who were in the process of renewing the tower control service at the airports that had been deregulated. They bid several tens of millions of euros less than its competitors.

Saerco proposed a wage increase this week for the years 0 per cent for 2021, 1 per cent for 2022, 2 per cent for 2023, and 2.5 per cent for 2024, which was rejected by the unions, as reported by

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Written by

Simon Smedley

Reporter - Euro Weekly News