Airport workers set to strike on Thursday May 19

Anyone flying in or out of Portugal should try to avoid Thursday May 19 as baggage handlers are scheduled for a walk-out over collective dismissals which could bring the nation’s airports to a standstill.

Lisbon, Porto and Faro airports will be affected, though to what degree no media source has yet been able to confirm.

The issue centres on the mass-dismissal of 257 baggage handlers assigned to low-cost service Ryanair.

National handler Portway announced in March that it was dismissing the workers, adding a month later that jobs would be reinstated in “four to five years time when activity levels recovered”.

Not surprisingly this concession has done nothing for unions which highlight the sector’s lack of job security.

Portway and fellow handling company Groundforce are involved – with union boss Fernando Henriques of SITAVA (the syndicate of airport and aviation staff) vowing that “the strike of both companies will be from 5am to 5pm on 19th”.

Portway is already on a go-slow over low pay and job insecurity. Workers protested outside Lisbon airport yesterday and now threaten to continue industrial action all the way through to May 19.

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