Easter flight chaos at Madrid Airport 

Easter travel disruption at Madrid Airport

Image of Madrid Barajas Airport. Credit: Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock.com

As Easter approaches, Madrid’s Barajas Airport braces for potential disruption, with up to 1,000 flights potentially affected.

On Wednesday, March 27 and Friday, March 29, ground aircraft guidance staff at Madrid’s Barajas Airport, employed by the Serveo-Skyway company under the Platform Management Service (SDP), have announced a strike.

This action, occurring in the middle of Easter travel plans, calls for improved working conditions. The UGT union has raised concerns, highlighting a lack of engagement from the employers.

Unrest among airport workers

The protests could affect up to 1,000 flights, according to the UGT union, which alleges there is no desire from the employers to hold talks.

This strike is not the airport’s first encounter with industrial action; a similar event last year saw full participation from staff but did not notably affect flights.

Aena forecasts the airport to have the busiest schedule during Easter, with 11,656 flights planned.

Calls for fair compensation

The UGT union’s demands include better pay and a unique employment contract to match the job’s demands and responsibilities.

Criticism has been levelled at the pay structure of the service since its inception, highlighting that initial wages of €2,000 after tax have not kept pace with inflation over the past 11 years.

Reports indicate that a newcomer now receives a net salary of €1,300 in their first year, which slightly increases to €1,600 thereafter, with no further opportunities for financial advancement.

Additionally, employees report a reduction in vacation days, this situation is occurring despite a cumulative inflation rate of 25 per cent during this period.

A clash over conditions

The Platform Management Service (SDP) blames AENA‘s tendering process and the absence of labour regulations for their grievances, claiming it leaves them vulnerable to changes in management.

The SDP also add that they have to pass the First European Air Traffic Controller Selection Test (FEAST) and then pay for a mandatory course of €13,000-€20,000 that does not guarantee the position.

In response to these conditions, the workers have taken legal action, with a court case against Serveo-Skyway scheduled for May.

The Easter strike action, which was declared on March 1, saw failed mediation attempts by Sima on March 13.

Without a resolution in sight and no minimum service levels agreed upon by the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, it is estimated that 800 to 1,000 flights could be cancelled over the two days of action, affecting over 2,000 flights in total.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.