August is still set to be a tricky month for passengers hoping to take to the sky, with problems continuing at UK airports, delays getting through passport controls due to Brexit (even at those airports where egate use is permitted, you still have to queue again to have your passport physically stamped), and of course the industrial action called by numerous unions affecting numerous airlines.
Spanish EasyJet cabin crews had been on strike in July, but have announced the suspension of further action after the USO union reached an agreement with the British company.
However, another strike has been announced at EasyJet Spain. Taking advantage of the pull of the cabin crew’s achievements with the company, the pilots have specified the warning they had made to the company about a possible strike this August, due to the fact that the negotiation of the second collective agreement has been stalled since the last year. EasyJet pilots plan stoppages on August 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 27, 28 and 29.
The Trade Union representing the pilots recalled that, during the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic for the airline industry, they agreed with the British low cost airline a two-year salary freeze, the temporary reduction of 8% of the basic salary, as well as the elimination of winter supplements, to avoid layoffs, but the situation continues today, when the airline has already recovered nearly 90% of its pre-pandemic activity.
Meanwhile, the USO and Sitcpla unions have made a new strike call for cabin crews at Ryanair, from August 8, 2022 to January 9, 2023, from Monday to Thursday every week, at its 10 Spanish bases – Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Girona, Valencia, Ibiza, Malaga, Santiago de Compostela, Seville and Alicante.
Dates of the next stoppages for Ryanair crew members: August 8, 9, 10 and 11/15, 16, 17 and 18/22, 23, 24 and 25/29, 30, 31 and September 1
What Ryanair workers ask for: the application of the statutory minimums of the Spanish legislation in labour and trade union matters to the entire group; the immediate reinstatement of the 11 workers dismissed during the previous strike days in June and July for exercising their constitutional right to strike and, lastly, the filing of all disciplinary proceedings opened against approximately 100 workers due to the strikes.
After 19 stoppages, Ryanair has not responded and tries to disqualify the two unions, USO and Sitcpla, chosen by their crew to represent them, in addition to downplaying the actions of their workers.
Lufthansa pilots are in the process of voting on a strike call for August, carried out by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union under pressure from its members, given that talks with the company on wages and working conditions are resulting in a resounding failure. Commanders and co-pilots of the German airline will be able to strike if 70% of the union members vote in favour. The process that closed this weekend, so we are now awaiting the result.
The new strike at Lufthansa could be called for mid-August. If so, the more than 7,000 cancelled flights that the company accumulates this summer due to personnel problems, shortages or strikes will increase by a significant number.
British Airways pilots are also preparing to go on strike in defence of their pay. The BALPA union has threatened strikes after the airline’s management rejected its call to discuss a new salary agreement and is preparing a consultation to formalise the pressure that its members are exerting to go on strike this summer, predictably for the month of August.
British Airways pilots are another of the groups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In July 2020, amid the paralysis of the airline industry due to mobility restrictions, they accepted a salary cut to mitigate layoffs and job losses. The airline applied a temporary cut of 20%, going to 8% during the following two years, reducing the cuts of the group from 1,255 to 270.
The union has stated that they should not only recover their salary, but even talk about salary increases given the inflationary scenario. “Unless BA is prepared to walk that path with us, we will have to consult with members to consider our next actions,” hinting at a strike call.