Airline workers across Europe wage strikes, stranding thousands

2023-07-16 20:40:28
Airline workers across Europe wage strikes, stranding thousands

Airport and airline workers across Europe have waged strikes over working conditions, grounding hundreds of flights throughout the continent and leaving thousands of travelers stranded amid a record heatwave.

In Italy, multiple unions declared a nationwide work stoppage for airport staff on Saturday following failed talks for a new collective contract.

Some 1,000 flights, both domestic and international, were cancelled as a result of the strike by ground crew in Italy, according to airport and airline authorities.

Italy's strike alone left nearly 250,000 travelers stranded in one of the world's top tourist spots with 200 flights reported cancelled in capital, Rome.

Another 120 flights due to depart and arrive from Belgium's Charleroi airport were cancelled Saturday and Sunday.

The strike in Italy was staged by ground crew, who are demanding a new collective contract six years after the previous one expired.

Talking to Italian media, Transport Minister Matteo Salvini called for the strikers to exercise “common sense” so as “not to harm millions of other workers and tourists.”

He said the companies and workers would meet the following week to continue negotiations.

There were 150 flight cancellations at Milan’s airports, while dozens of others were grounded in Turin and Palermo.

And in France, repeated air traffic control (ATC) strikes have led to delays and limited flights across the country, causing more air space congestion in Europe.

Ryanair, which has asked the European Commission to protect overflights from strike disruption, cancelled more than 900 flights in June mainly due to French ATC strikes.

Pilots at Spain’s Iberia Regional Air Nostrum, who had been striking every Monday and Friday since Feb. 27, went on a daily indefinite strike from June 6 amid a pay dispute.

As of July 14, Iberia said on its website some flight routes could be affected.

The strike comes amid a record heatwave, billed by the national weather service as "one of the most intense of all time.”

Sixteen cities across Italy have issued red alerts as temperatures of at least 40 degrees Celsius is expected in Rome and 48C in the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

The red alerts mean that even healthy people could be at risk from the heat, and the Italian government has advised those in the alert areas to avoid direct sunlight between 11am and 6pm.


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