Europe’s Travel Industry Hit by Strike Disruptions
While Europe’s peak season was hit last year by cancellations, this summer air traffic control issues are likely to be the weak spot, according to warnings from Eurocontrol, which manages European airspace.
On Aug. 4 Union Syndicale representatives at Eurocontrol suspended tentative plans for industrial action announced on July 7, after long negotiations and an exchange of letters.
In July the union said it was considering taking industrial action at Eurocontrol’s Network Manager Operations Centre, which oversees traffic across the European airspace, giving a six-month window for action but no specific dates.
Issues across the region
In Belgium, Ryanair(RYA.I) pilots went on strike on July 15-16 to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Belgian media reported around 120 flights were cancelled.
Also, Pilots held another strike on July 29 and July 30, saying management had failed to address their demands. The union has said further action could be taken.
Ryanair pilots residing in Belgium called a new strike for Aug. 14 and Aug. 15.
According to the Chaleroi airport website, 88 Ryanair flights to and from the airport on Aug. 14-15 were cancelled due to the strike.
On Britain, ASC, Menzies Aviation and GGS staff, who work for airlines including British Airways, cancelled walkouts scheduled to take place from July 28 to Aug. 1 and from Aug. 4 to Aug. 8 after they voted to accept a 15% pay rise, the Unite trade union said.
Another Airline, Easyjet, cancelled 1,700 flights, mostly from Gatwick, in July and August.
Gatwick airport workers employed by Wilson James have suspended their August strike to allow members to vote following a “greatly improved offer”, Unite union said on Aug 15.
Two days later, the same union confirmed Red Handling employees at the same airport had called off their August strike after receiving a “significantly improved pay offer.”
230 Gatwick airport employees and members of Unite were set to go on strike for eight days during August.
At Luton Airport, workers from GH London Ground Handling Services announced 24-hour strikes that will affect passengers flying with Wizz Air on Aug. 30 and Sept. 6 and 13, Unite union said on Aug. 16.
Also in Italy, about 1,000 flights were cancelled on July 15 due to a nationwide airport staff strike, local media reported. Up to 100% of workers participated in the strike, trade unions said in a press release.
Meanwhile, Easyjet(EZJ.L) cancelled 350 flights arriving to or departing from Portugal ahead of a cabin staff strike on July 21-25, the SNPVAC union of civil aviation flight personnel said, the union’s third strike since the start of the year.
On July 21, almost 100% of EasyJet’s cabin staff in Portugal walked out, and the union threatened more strikes in the coming months if the company kept rejecting the raises they demand.