Strike disruption to carnival weekend flights

TRAVELLERS THIS Carnival weekend face disruption to their flghts due to a strike by staff at baggage-handling company Groundforce.

Portuguese airports company ANA is advising all passengers who booked flights for February 1 (today) to Monday, February 4, to allow extra time for check-in and to avoid taking big bags.

According to ANA, the Groundforce strike is expected to affect 80 per cent of the handling services at national airports. Portway, another handling company operating in Portugal, handles around 20 per cent of baggage and its employees are not involved in the protest.

A spokeswoman for Groundforce told The Resident today (Friday) that “all flights are being assisted and there haven’t been any delays as a result of the strike”.

She added that the flight delays being experienced at present “are as a result of the weather conditions in several European countries”.

The website of the handling workers union, the Sindicato dos Trabalhadores de Handling e Aeroportos (STHA) , says they will handle the minimum number of flights they are legally obliged plus government flights, emergency flights and ambulance flights.

Although the Secretary of State for the Construction and Communications agreed yesterday (Thursday) to meet with the union, STHA has also announced its intention to hold another strike from February 14 to 18.

The union says the strike is the workers’ response to the government’s late reply, on January 29, to their request on January 10 for a meeting.

Workers are mainly protesting against rumours that Groundforce’s administration plans to go ahead with cuts to the workforce in several services provided by the company.