Brits in Spain returning for Christmas warned of strikes at 18 UK airports
By: thinkSPAIN , Saturday, December 17, 2016
EXPATS in Spain travelling to the UK to spend Christmas with family and friends should try to change their flights to earlier in the week if possible – workers at 18 airports, including the main London terminals, will be on strike on Friday, December 23 and on Christmas Eve, a Saturday.
Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton employees are among the 1,500 or so planning to down tools as a 'last resort', according to their union.
Their salaries have been frozen since 2014, despite the cost of living rocketing even since then and housing now out of reach of the budgets of most first-time buyers.
Unite, representing the workers, has rejected proposals to increase wages by 4.65% in three years.
Swissport luggage-handling staff have joined the strike, meaning flights are likely to be delayed or even cancelled.
Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Edinburgh are other airports affected.
Additionally, pilots on the British airline Virgin Atlantic are negotiating through their union, PPU, and say they will be working 'the bare minimum to comply with their job contracts' in protest over job conditions.
To cap it all, around 2,000 British Airways (BA) cabin crew members have voted to strike in protest over their own frozen salaries, although they have not yet given a date to do so.
It is likely, however, to be over the Christmas and New Year period, since other than summer, this is when British airports are at their busiest.
The ground staff strike at the 18 UK airports could continue indefinitely, says Unite spokesman Oliver Richardson, unless company bosses agree to open discussions with them on equal terms.
Brits living in Spain should keep a close eye on the websites for their airlines if they are due to spend Christmas and New Year in their country of origin.
Extra time should be allowed when travelling back to Spain, particularly from the main London airports where the requisite two hours before take-off is frequently not enough time to check in and get through security on a normal day