Tentative agreement between Aena and unions over strikes

Passengers at terminal 4 at Madrid Barajas Airport.
Passengers at terminal 4 at Madrid Barajas Airport. / Jasper Junen / AP
  • The airport authority has accepted union demands over staff and salaries but the final decision lies with the Ministry of Finance

Efforts are being made by the Spanish airport operator Aena to meet the demands of airport workers’ unions and avoid the series of 25 strikes which are due to begin on 15 September and continue until the end of the year.

After a meeting this week between the CC OO, UGT and USO unions, Aena president José Manuel Vargas and Ángel Luis Arias (CEO of the air traffic control company Enaire), the two companies issued a statement saying that they agreed in principle with the unions over staffing levels and salaries, but as this is a public service, the decision lies with the Ministry of Finance, even though Aena and Enaire are self-financing and do not rely on government funding.

Although no figures were given with regard to extra staff, the workers are asking for 450 new posts from Aena and 250 from Enaire. The companies also believe it would be fair to increase salaries in accordance with results, which are positive at present thanks to the growth in air traffic and good management. Again, no figures were given but the unions are demanding a salary increase which would compensate for the loss in spending power which they say they have suffered since 2010.

In response, Íñigo de la Serna, the Minister of Public Works and Transport, pointed out that any salary increase would have to be approved in advance because airport staff count as public employees and there cannot be major salary differences between sectors.

The next meeting to resolve the conflict is due to take place on 29 August. The planned strike dates are 15, 17, 22, 24 and 29 September; 1, 6, 11, 15, 27, 30 and 31 October; 3 and 5 November; 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30 December.