Posts Tagged ‘strikes’

UK airlines hit out at Spanish airport strike threat

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

A decision by airport workers in Spain to go ahead with a number of planned strikes could spell misery for many Brits planning to visit the country over Easter. Last year, Spain was the most popular destination with holidaymakers from the UK with 28 million boarding planes to soak up some sun, according to the CAA.

The walkouts have been announced because airport staff are unhappy with the government’s plans to privatise the country’s airports authority, Aena. If the industrial action gets the go-ahead, strikes could start on 20 April and run through the summer. Additional travel misery could be added if air traffic controllers also decide to walk out in support. This would mean the closure of Spanish airspace and disruption to services flying to Malta and Portugal.

Ryanair has said that it would be forced to cancel 300 flights over Easter if the strikes happen. This would affect 57,000 passengers. Because it serves 17 airports in Spain, easyJet would also be hit hard by the industrial action.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, has already demanded that the Spanish government prevents the stoppages. He said that the airline had also contacted the EU over the matter. He added that the Aena workers were behaving in a selfish manner.

British Airways, also being threatened with strike action by its cabin crew, has also been in contact with the Spanish authorities over the issue. The flag-carrier said it would do everything in its power to make sure that its customers suffered as little disruption as possible.

British Airways faces fresh wave of strikes

Monday, January 24th, 2011

British Airways customers planning to go away with the airline over the school half-term or at Easter may have to rethink their plans as cabin crew once again vote in favour of industrial action. Although no dates have yet been confirmed, the union has not ruled out staging strikes over the holidays.

The latest ballot to strike was supported by 78.5 per cent of those who turned out. According to Len McCluskey, the general secretary elect of Unite, the vote proves that staff at BA are still unhappy with the way in which they are being treated.

In October last year it looked as if the long-running row between BA and the union had come to an end as the airline’s chief executive, Willie Walsh, and joint general secretary of Unite, Tony Woodley, finally agreed on a solution. However, more militant members of the union were not happy and called for the latest ballot.

According to a spokesman for BA the latest ballot was only supported by 43 per cent of crew members. He added that since the dispute started 2,500 members of the airline’s cabin crew have actually left the union. He went on to say that contrary to what union bosses claim, the percentage of those voting in favour of industrial action is falling every time a ballot is announced.

He urged Unite to look again at the deal which was agreed in October pointing out that it guaranteed pay rises for staff over the coming two years and secured conditions which are already the best in the British airline industry.

Recession responsible for 25% drop in air travel

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

An analysis of airline statistics by the Civil Aviation Authority has revealed that the number of people travelling in premium class plunged by nearly a quarter as the world’s economies went into recession. In 2008, after the Lehman Brothers’ collapse, there was a 4.6 per cent drop in travel in and out of Britain by air.

In 2009, according to the CAA, there was a further drop of 22.2 per cent. Over the first half of 2010 a fall of 28 per cent was recorded on a year earlier. However, it is important to note that as well as the recession, carriers were hit by the effects of airline strikes and an ash cloud which closed European airspace for six days.

Worst hit through 2009 were flights between Europe and the UK which were down by 25 per cent. Travel between the US and the UK was also badly affected as numbers plummeted by 20 per cent. As well as less people boarding aircraft there was also a significant shift away from premium class tickets to budget carriers and economy class.

British Airways’ chief executive, Willie Walsh, said he saw no real reason why those travelling on short-haul journeys would decide to reverse the trend for choosing no frills travel.

CAA regulations director, Harry Bush, agrees with this, pointing out that price cuts to companies travel budgets were likely to remain in place and, although there is evidence that some are returning to premium class, many may have been converted to the cash saving advantages of economy.

Strikes to hit rail networks over festive season

Friday, December 17th, 2010

A raft of strikes across rail networks is likely to disrupt passengers intending to travel over Christmas and into the New Year. On 23 December the industrial action kicks off as Aslef members driving trains on London Midland have said they intend to walk out in protest over wages and working conditions. The misery continues for those who intend to travel in the capital on Boxing Day.

London Underground has refused demands that drivers be paid triple time for working on the bank holiday. This means that around half of the tube drivers have said they will not be turning up for work. The decision is likely to hinder those intending to seek out bargains in the central London sales as well as those looking forward to seeing a football match.

Disputes over job cuts are likely to affect the London network well into the New Year. Elsewhere, drivers on the Arriva Trains Wales network are due to strike over levels of pay. The results of a ballot by conductors on the Northern Rail network early next week could well see industrial action taking place just after Christmas

Passengers on Southeastern Trains might not be facing a happy New Year when the ballot is announced on whether or not to strike over the issue of staff levels.

Passenger Focus chief executive, Antony Smith, said it was not fair that the passenger should be punished by strike action. As well as urging all parties to find a solution, he added that passengers must be given adequate warning of strikes so they can make alternative plans.

French airspace closure causes UK flight cancellations

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Airline passengers trying to get to destinations within France face delays, disruption and cancellations as French air traffic control walks out on strike today. The controllers will join fellow public service workers to show their disapproval of President Sarkozy’s plans to push up the age of retirement. The closure of French airspace has resulted in the cancellation of more than 400 flights in and out of Britain.

Budget carrier Ryanair says it has been forced to cancel more than 200 flights which has infuriated boss, Michael O’Leary. He said it was because European governments, like the one in France, were unable to keep control of their own air traffic services that passengers and airlines were essentially being held to ransom by strikes.

British Airways has warned that it may have to cancel a number of services and has advised customers to call the airline before heading out to catch a flight. The flag carrier added that it would be redirecting flights and providing larger aircraft in order to accommodate as many passengers as possible.

A similar warning to passengers has been issued by easyJet. It says some services will certainly be affected and told passengers to find out what was happening with their flight before coming to the airport.

Eurostar has brought in British and Belgian drivers so that it will be able to run services as scheduled. It warned that there may however be some disruption at Gare du Nord in Paris. P&O said it will be running ferry services across the channel as usual.

Easter strikes likely for British Airways cabin crew

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Passengers travelling on British Airways flights could experience Easter travel chaos, as cabin crew for beleaguered UK flagship carrier will vote again on a fresh strike next month, according to union Unite.

The union will hold a fresh ballot of its members after recent negotiations with the airlines failed to find a resolution to the long-running dispute.

The airline said it was saddened but not surprised by the decision, but promised to continue talks.

A 12 day strike was originally planned over the Christmas peak travel period, however it was blocked by the High Court, which declared the strike illegal as members who had already accepted redundancies or who were no longer working with the airline took part in the ballot.

The union representing the cabin crew is in a dispute with British Airways over changes to cabin crew staffing levels on long-haul flights, a pay freeze and working conditions.

Assistant general secretary of Unite, Len McCluskey, said that intensive discussions between the union and the airline had failed to secure an agreement.

McCluskey added that the Union must honour their commitment to the members and provide a voice which had been denied by the courts prior to Christmas, and hold a fresh ballot for industrial action.

He did not rule out further talks with British Airways.

The airline said the decision to call the ballot into question Unite’s ‘good faith’ in recent negotiations which had said were designed to resolve the dispute without disruptions.

The struggling airline lost over £400 million in 2009 following a dramatic drop in the demand for air travel, especially premium class fares, resulting from the recession.

The airline has taken a tough stance, saying that it will not allow Unite to ruin British Airways, and believe they have the support of customers and the vast majority of staff in that objective.

Iberia to cancel 440 flights due to strike

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Spain’s national carrier Iberia Airlines has cancelled 440 flights due to a two-day strike by cabin crew in support of wage demands.

A statement on the airline’s web site said that the 48-hour stoppage started on midnight last night, and would affect domestic, European and trans-Atlantic services, and equates to about a quarter of all Iberia’s flights.

Labor union’s representing some 4,300 staff have called the strike, who want an end to a four-year pay freeze, and say that other workers, including pilots, have had wage increases over the last few years.

Strike action has also been planned for November 10 and 11.

The airline has said that affected passengers would be entitled to a refund or replacement ticket.

Iberia has said that it regrets that unions should call strikes for pay rises when the aviation sector is so badly hit by the international crisis.

Iberia Airlines is Spain’s largest carrier and currently flies to 38 domestic destinations and 82 international destinations in 44 countries across Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe.