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More delays as Barcelona airport security workers go on partial strike

Passengers stand in line for over 30 minutes on Friday during first of several hour-long stoppages

Lines at the security check in T-1 at El Prat airport on Friday morning.
Lines at the security check in T-1 at El Prat airport on Friday morning.Joan Sanchez

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Personnel in charge of manning security checks at Barcelona’s El Prat airport went on a partial strike on Friday, resulting in lines of over 30 minutes first thing in the morning. There will be one-hour stoppages every Friday, Sunday and Monday at 5.30am, 10.30am, 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

Employees of Eulen, a Spain-based multinational that provides security services at El Prat, are prepared to extend their strikes to 24 hours beginning in mid-August if their demands are not met.

Staff are complaining about a lack of personnel, deficient training and a failure by the company to pay a bonus to workers in charge of the airport scanners. The lack of personnel often leads to extra work for existing workers, some of whom are putting in 16-hour workdays filled with “stress,” say employee representatives.

Some staff at the airport are putting in 16-hour workdays filled with “stress,” say employee representatives

Strikers are blaming Aena, the state airport manager, for awarding the airport security contract a year ago to a bidder who offered a cheaper service. With the previous contractor, Prosegur, employees were earning around €1,300 a month. With Eulen, workers who were transferred from Prosegur make €1,100, while new workers earn no more than €800 or €900.

But Aena refuses “to get involved in a conflict between a private company and its workers.” After two failed mediation attempts, the airport manager was planning to bring both parties to the table again on Friday morning.

The strike only adds to the delays that passengers at Barcelona airport have been experiencing for two weeks now. Eulen workers had denied that they were engaging in an undercover strike, but a recording that this newspaper has had access to shows that the strike committee’s strategy has been to contribute to passenger delays as a way to pressure the company.

In late July, the time passengers were spending in lines for security checks was coming in at more than two hours.

English version by Susana Urra.

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