Flight misery as Portway ground handlers threaten further strike action in January

National airports have been hit by a three-day strike by ‘ground handlers’ working for Portway.

So far around 20 flights have been cancelled, the majority due in or out of Lisbon – and numerous others have been delayed.

But as Portway itself has reportedly threatened strikers with ‘reprisals’ if they continue, union leader Fernando Simões of SINTAC (the national union of civil aviation workers) suggests further strike action in January is inevitable.

Portway’s staff are pushing for the ‘unfreezing’ of career progressions, and over the perceived undermining of other rights.

In a statement, SINTAC said Portway – which is owned by French group Vinci – has also started cutting social allowances and rights acquired by staff over the last 20 years “with a single objective” in mind: “not to lower its profits in order to be able to fill the coffers of the Vinci group even more”.

Portway however refutes the allegations, saying it “scrupulously complies with the law and all applicable regulations, both in terms of labour legislation and in terms of agreements and protocols” and therefore “does not recognise grounds for this stoppage”.

The three-day strike ends today, with SINTAC saying the number of flight cancellations could still change “by the minute”.

SINTAC’s pre-advice on further strike action in January has not yet specified any dates.

[email protected]