SPAIN’S two biggest labour unions, UGT and CCOO, have called eight days of strike action for Spanish airline Iberia’s ground service staff over the Christmas holidays, threatening travel chaos for thousands of passengers during the busy festive season.
The dates chosen for the stoppages are December 29, 30 and 31, and January 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7, the unions announced on Wednesday, and will affect all of the airports where Iberia operates.
In a statement released on Wednesday evening and reported by Reuters, Iberia called the planned stoppages ‘irresponsible’ and said that they ‘make no sense’.
“A strike, like the one called by unions for Christmas, irremediably hurts the right to holidays and to reunite with families and friends,” the former Spanish flag carrier added.
The conflict is over new contracts that have been signed covering ground service workers, who are responsible for activities such as baggage handling.
The unions want Iberia’s parent group, IAG, to create an in-house ground service company that would work with all of its airlines. But instead Iberia has outsourced the service on the basis that its margins are so low, it is very hard to run profitably.
Thousands of existing Iberia ground workers are due to see their contracts signed over to new operators.
Ground service workers already threatened to strike earlier this month during the December puente, the week of two public holidays on December 6 and 8, but eventually called them off.