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Baggage Handlers Consider Strike Action

Tuesday April 5, 2011

Baggage Handlers Consider Strike Action

Baggage handlers at Arrecife airport are considering strike action. As a dispute over their working conditions looks set to escalate after they rejected a proposed settlement yesterday. At this stage though no walk out has been confirmed and there appears to be scope for further discussion and resolution.

A possible strike by baggage handlers at Lanzarote airport was announced yesterday, as employees of Clever-Iberia, the company responsible for this activity, rejected an agreement put before them by management.  Causing potential disruption to the holiday planning for many tourists.

At present no definite action has been agreed upon, with the employees merely threatening to go on strike if the issues arising from their employment contracts are not resolved. Their demands focus on the scrapping of a plan to change the employment conditions for baggage handlers.

Clever Iberia has been attempting to regularize the employment conditions of its workers since December 2009. And the latest initiative would see the termination of fourteen employees contracts as well as reducing the working hours of those remaining in employment.

However, those employed as baggage handlers cannot see how it will be possible to lose some of their number when the volume of work has increased considerably during the past year. They are also concerned that several workers with fixed contracts and many years service with Clever-Iberia could be let go in these circumstances.

The president for the works committee, Juan Luzardo, explained that the strike would only go ahead if there was no agreement reached about the proposed terminations and that the employees were well aware of the damage such action could do to the airport and tourism on Lanzarote more generally.

The recent strike by air traffic controllers in December 2010 caused major disruption and cost an estimated €50 million in lost revenue across the Canary Islands. That action has resulted in a plan to privatize some aspects of air-traffic control at a number of Spanish airports to avoid the possibility of such action in the future. The baggage handlers will be meeting this week to discuss their position and see if there are ways in which an accommodation between management and employees can be reached.

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