A BUS strike by almost a thousand transport workers in Almeria Spain is threatening to dampen Christmas festivities in the Andalucian province and surrounding communities.
The threatened walk-out is scheduled to start on December 3 and carry on until January 10. This is the busiest period of the year for bus travel, both locally and intercity.
There are a total of 62 transport companies involved in the labour disagreements which have been going on since before the pandemic struck.
Stoppages are being organised by the Plataforma de Transportes de Viajeros de Almeria, which is an amalgamation of the CCOO, UGT and CGT transport unions.
Last minutes negotiations between the unions and management, aimed at preventing the stikes, are expected to carry on throughout the weekend.
If an agreement is not reached, a strike will be called, potentially leaving hundreds of buses stranded in their transport facilities.
Businesses in the region would also lose out on the traditional Christmas spend. Consumers with no transport will have to resort to online retailers like Amazon to purchase their gifts.
The days given for the strike, according to the information provided by the union representatives, are December 3,4,8,13,17,24,30 and 31 and January 2, 3, 4, 6, 9 and 10.
What the unions are asking for?
- A rise in the basic salary for workers, which is currently at “just over a thousand euros”, according to Juan López, from CCOO. The proposed increase would lead to a progressive rise in salaries of up to €230 by 2023.
- A ‘transport bonus’ of up to €450 per year for next year, rising to €500 for the next.
- Holiday pay supplement. Something that has been recognised by a judgment of the Supreme Court, stated Francisco Rodríguez on behalf of the UGT.
- Payment for ‘hours of presence’. Travel times to and from work are not calculated in the workers pay and can sometimes add up to four hours of unpaid travel and even more for stop-overs at hotels.
European regulations ensure that the working day for transport workers includes ‘hours of presence’. In addition, payment for 50% of the second and third hours for mandatory stops, and overnight stays in a two or three-star hotel, should be paid to the drivers.