Lines at Barcelona airport continue to test passengers’ nerves ahead of Thursday's strikers’ assembly
Catalan government offers a proposal to solve the labor conflict including a €200 pay raise
Long lines at Barcelona airport security checkpoints continued this Wednesday with wait times of more than an hour, according to the airport owner Aena. The security staff is on strike to get better job conditions but it may come to an end on Thursday. The workers are to hold an assembly to discuss whether they accept the offer put on the table by the labor mediator in this conflict, the Catalan government. The employer, Eulen, has agreed to the proposal and, although the strike committee is skeptical, they at least decided to submit the proposal for debate. Passengers at Barcelona airport hold their breath ahead of Thursday but they will need to arm themselves with patience in the meantime.
€200 monthly salary increase and hiring of 76 employees
The Catalan government has no power over airport policy, but it does over labor mediation. Within this context, it offered a proposal to both sides on Wednesday consisting of a €200 pay raise for every employee and the hiring of 76 new people to reduce the pressure on staff and to improve the quality of the service. Eulen, which had offered between €55 and €155 monthly increase and 21 new employees, welcomed the new proposal. Nevertheless, the strike committee pointed out that they aim to see their salaries increased by €350 per month.
Yet another clash between Catalan and Spanish administrations
To the dismay of air travelers, Eulen and the strikers have been at a standoff since the protests started on July 24. The Catalan government has accused the Spanish government of inaction since it is the Spanish government that is the owner and manager of the airport. The Spanish public company in charge, Aena, only agreed to sit down at the negotiation table 12 days after the outbreak of the conflict, after claiming that it was an internal labor conflict within Eulen. The change of attitude only came after the employees announced they would toughen the strike conditions with an indefinite strike beginning on August 14.
The chaos at Barcelona Airport, which is daily despite the fact that protests officially take place only three days per week, has become yet another bone of contention that deepens the conflict between the Catalan and Spanish governments. While Barcelona blames Madrid for the disarray during the airport's most crucial period, a member of Mariano Rajoy’s cabinet retorted that the Catalan authorities have an “obsession” against them. The October 1 referendum on self-determination planned in Catalonia is the backdrop for this and most of the rest of the disagreements between the administrations.