Pilots working for the British airline easyJet in Spain have begun a series of three 72-hour strikes today, Friday 12 August.
The strikes are taking place on 12, 13, 14, 19,20, 21, 27, 28 and 29 August and have been called because the airline is allegedly refusing to reinstate the pilots’ pre-pandemic salaries and working conditions, and negotiations for a second collective bargaining agreement have broken down.
The Sepla union has apologised to passengers who will be affected, but says the strikes are “a last possible resort”.
The pilots accepted lower salaries during the worst months of the pandemic, not only to safeguard their jobs but also the survival of the airline in Spain, but since then easyJet has announced an increase in the number of planes and pilots at its bases in Barcelona and Palma, and opened a completely new base in Malaga.
Negotiations for the second collective bargaining agreement with the airline ended in July, “when the company refused to accept any of the pilots’ requests and presented a new proposal which would have resulted in even further cutbacks in their working conditions in real terms,” said the union.
“The companies are within their rights to regain muscle, but not at the cost of the workers; if the situation is back at 2019 levels, it is only right that the pilots’ working conditions at that time should also be reinstated,” it said.
The airline has bases in many European countries and the work contracts are different in each. The unions claim that conditions for easyJet pilots in Spain have always been worse than anywhere else and the company’s latest proposal would leave them even worse-off.
During the nine days of strike action, minimum services have been established: 57% of the easyJet flights based in Palma will operate, as well as 60% from Malaga and 61% in Barcelona and Menorca.