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Labor minister shows sympathy with striking airport staff and demands talks with Aena

Josep Ginesta admits working conditions 'difficult' as Eulen employees begin industrial action three days a week, with 24-hour stoppages due to start on August 14

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04 August 2017 06:00 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

With an indefinite strike by security airport staff beginning on Friday, the Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, and Families Josep Ginesta expressed sympathy with the disgruntled workers, while at the same time calling on the state airport operator Aena to join the negotiation table and help resolve the situation. Talking to ACN, Ginesta admitted that the working conditions of security staff were “difficult” and called on Aena to review the conditions of the contract to provide security to see if there are any differences with other airports in Spain. “If Aena has nothing to hide, surely it can explain and shed light on the doubts of the employees,” he said, adding that “in a tender agreement, a certain level of service is normally guaranteed.”

In the past couple of weeks, staff from the Eulen company, which provides airport security, have been working to rule, which has caused long lines at security checkpoints and caused hundreds of passengers to miss their flights. However, on Friday, the airport security staff began indefinite industrial action that will see stoppages three days a week at peak times, with a full 24-hour a day strike to begin on August 14. The first stoppages on Friday morning caused lines of about an hour at checkpoints in the airport’s T1 terminal, and over an hour in the T2 terminal, although passengers reported that the delays were in fact longer.

Yet, the labor minister recognized that the working conditions of security staff were far from easy. “It is not only about whether someone is carrying a water bottle or a can of deodorant not allowed by aviation regulations, sometimes they have to deal with people who have difficulty understanding why they have to leave behind one product or another, they have to deal with elderly people who have difficulty passing through the security arch or taking off a belt or their shoes... and that causes a situation of major stress," he said.

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  • Long lines at Barcelona Airport security check on Friday morning, August 4 (by ACN)
  • Labor minister, Josep Ginesta, during the interview with ACN (by ACN)

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