Twelve former Faro Airport workers sacked last month have announced they will be suing employer Portway – owned by airport authority ANA – alleging their dismissals were “illegal”.
The men who manned the airport’s “mobile telescopic bridges” (passenger walkways connecting terminals to planes) complain they were only told they were out of a job on the day they were sacked (April 20), and claim it was an “atrocious and illegal” ruse of “sending a message” to other workers, warning them what could happen if they embarked on strike action.
As ANA president Ponce de Leão told a parliamentary commission recently, the men were essentially fired because the airport authority feared they “might go on strike again” during the summer season.
Initially, the reason had been given that their jobs were “extinct”.
But on May 6 Ponce de Leão admitted: “The director of Faro Airport and I did not want to take chances.
“As president of ANA I have to ensure that there cannot be problems with the airport’s mobile telescopic bridges during such a critical time as summer.”
The admission only intensified the workers’ indignation. Waving banners against what they called their “savage lay-offs”, they gathered in front of Faro Airport on Wednesday (May 13).
“After 13 years of service, they just get rid of us and give us no alternative. Couldn’t we have worked with the luggage or trolleys?” former Portway supervisor João Marques questioned.
Thus the men are preparing to sue ANA’s handling company as they join the thousands already out of work in the Algarve.
Meantime, ANA has hired seven new operatives now in charge of the airport’s mobile telescopic bridges (the boarding alleys connecting planes to terminal buildings).