Madrid airport T4 cleaners join strike at other terminals

Labor union officials say employers want workers to accept a cut of 40 percent in wages

Rubbish piles up at Madrid's Barajas airport due to a strike by cleaners.
Rubbish piles up at Madrid's Barajas airport due to a strike by cleaners.ULY MARTÍN (EL PAÍS)

Cleaners at Madrid Barajas airport's Terminal 4 laid down their mops on Monday, joining colleagues at the airport's other three terminals where rubbish is starting to pile up after a stoppage to protest job and wage cuts that has been on the go for four days. Worker representatives and the management of Eulen, the company that holds the concession to clean Terminal 4, had held 14 hours of talks to find a solution to the impasse but eventually failed to reach an agreement.

Labor union officials said Eulen wants the 250 workers at Terminal 4 to accept a cut of 40 percent in wages, which average 1,200 euros a month. They also want to apply the Madrid region collective agreement for the cleaning sector to its workforce, which would mean them losing rights acquired in their own deal.

They said the company initially seemed disposed to accept a proposal by workers to reduce hours but backed out at the last minute. "We're holding this strike because of the threat to our social rights, but we are confident we can reach an agreement," UGT union representative Rosa Sampedro said.

State airport operator AENA last year introduced a cut of 20 percent in what it pays companies with concessions to clean airports. "We don't have to offset cuts Eulen accepted voluntarily with our own wages," Toñi Fernández, another UGT official, said.

Minimum services are in place in the other three terminals. Pilsa, which holds the concession for those terminals, plans to sack 54 workers from the cleaning team of 270.

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