Airport strike threatened for Portugal over New Year

Handling staff contracted to Groundforce and Portway are due to meet on Boxing Day to decide whether or not to call a strike over New Year.

The three-day strike would affect flights on December 28, 29 and 30, reports Diário de Notícias.

The news follows a demo this morning in Lisbon in front of civil aviation authority ANAC.

Workers’ syndicate SITAVA claims ANAC is “conditioning assistance” given at national airports.

Fernando Henriques speaking for syndicate has told Lusa that APA, the union of assistants of ports and airports, is also welcome to ‘come in’ on strike action.

SITAVA will be holding a session to talk with APA next Wednesday, adds DN, while Lusa gives the background to this latest strike threat.

It centres on what unions see as the “illegal licensing” of Ryanair and Groundlink at national airports which has led to collective dismissals at Portway.

Said Henriques: “We truly don’t know whether we will have a firm to work for in six months’ time, and the man responsible for this is (ANAC president) Luís Ribeiro. For this reason, we are proposing a three-day strike”.

Today’s motion approved by SITAVA demands that “responsible entities intervene, and stabilise the handling sector” immediately. If they don’t, workers vow the strike will go ahead.

SITAVA’s demo meant that Lisbon airport suffered a “go-slow” today between the hours of 11am and 2pm.

ANAC has since issued a statement, dubbing the demo “inopportune” and accusing SITAVA of “contributing decisively to the suspension of dialogue”, prejudicing “undoubtedly the activities of the working group on handling that was created by the government”.

As Lusa reports, SITAVA reacted to the statement off-the-cuff, saying that it was ANAC whose “positions” have been “inopportune” throughout this handling dispute “which has been ongoing for three years without any decision”, while Luís Ribeiro pockets a salary of €16,000 a month, and handling staff “remain on insecure wages of €500 and €600”.

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