By John Ensor •
Published: 29 Nov 2023 • 19:14
Image of airport luggage handler.
Credit: Joseph Sohm
IN a recent development, the planned strike by handling service workers at Aena airports for the upcoming December long weekend has been suspended.
This decision followed a crucial meeting between the two parties before the Intercondefederal Mediation and Arbitration Service, writes Telecinco.
The strike, initially announced for December 5 and 10, was called off after a crucial dialogue. The Union General de Trabajadores (UGT) union had initiated this industrial action, expressing their discontent with the outcome of a competition for handling services.
The union voiced their concerns, stating, ‘The substance of the competition has done nothing but raise more uncertainty about the labour stability of the sector.’ They further added, ‘The situation of permanent judicialization and conflict in labour relations, which was already unsustainable, has the risk of becoming even more serious.’
Despite announcing the strike, UGT underscored that Aena had not demonstrated ‘a real, concrete and clear commitment’ in addressing non-compliance issues related to the agreement.
They criticised Aena for merely playing the role of ‘an adjudication manager.’ The union condemned the prevalent practice where workers had to seek recourse through Labour Inspection or courts to uphold their rights.
They revealed, ‘Some companies have had million-dollar costs for this reason and yet they persist in their attitude. It is cheaper for them.’
The UGT highlighted that over the past seven years, there have been multiple instances of non-compliance in labour matters by ‘all companies,’ resulting in thousands of demands, collective disputes, and strike calls.
They also pointed out that companies violating labour agreements were still awarded licenses. The union voiced concerns that this would lead to ‘the movement of thousands of workers from their current companies to others,’ potentially jeopardizing their future working conditions.
Handling service workers play a vital role in airport operations. They are responsible for various important duties, including passenger handling, check-in, boarding, reviewing documentation and tickets, and managing luggage movement.
Their duties extend to essential flight operations such as towing the aircraft, setting up boarding stairs, load checking, applying antifreeze liquid, and cleaning.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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