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EasyJet strikes: Spanish pilots begin 9 days of walkouts in August over working conditions

An Easyjet aircraft approaches Josep Tarradellas Barcelona - El Prat airport the day before a cabin crew strike.
An Easyjet aircraft approaches Josep Tarradellas Barcelona - El Prat airport the day before a cabin crew strike.   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Albert Gea
By Rosie Frost

Passengers flying to Spain with low-cost carriers could see major travel disruption throughout August.

EasyJet pilots in Spain will walk out for nine days this month over pay and working conditions.

Today (12 August) marks the first of three 72-hour strikes. The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (SEPLA) said further walk outs will place from 19 to 21 and 27 to 29 August. It is demanding that working conditions for pilots are restored to what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The union is also asking easyJet to provide its pilots with new multi-year contracts.

“This is the last possible recourse, as all attempts by the pilots’ representatives to reach an agreement have failed,” SEPLA said.

It added that representatives called the strike after more than six months of negotiations, during which easyJet rejected three proposals presented by the union. SEPLA claims conditions for Spanish pilots have always been worse than they are in the rest of Europe.

EasyJet said it was “disappointed with this action at this critical time for the industry,” adding that negotiations were ongoing.

The low-cost airline also told Reuters it was aware of an upcoming pilot strike at its bases in Barcelona, Malaga and Palma.

PAU BARRENA/AFP
An Easyjet Airbus A319-111 aircraft lands at El Prat airport in Barcelona.PAU BARRENA/AFP

Are other airline strikes happening in Spain?

Airlines are facing waves of industrial action during the busy summer season as passenger numbers return to what they were pre-pandemic amid staff shortages. The cost of living crisis is also driving workers to call for better pay and working conditions.

Last month, Spanish cabin crews for easyJet called off a three day strike planned for 29 July. They reached a deal with the airline which included higher pay according to Unión Sindical Obrera (USO).

The union said the agreement “does represent an important approach to the salaries and conditions that our colleagues have in Europe”.

The announcement of further walk outs in Spain comes after two Ryanair cabin crew unions recently called for a five month strike starting in August.

One of the groups, USO, told Euronews that the industrial action will take place from Monday to Thursday every week, lasting 24 hours a day. Ryanair has said it expects minimal disruption this winter from the industrial action.