End to Barcelona airport strike in sight as company accepts proposal

Travelers have faced major delays at El Prat due to protests against work conditions

Lines at the security checkpoint in El Prat on Monday.
Lines at the security checkpoint in El Prat on Monday.JOAN SÁNCHEZ (EL PAÍS)

There may be light at the end of the tunnel for the ongoing strike at El Prat airport in Barcelona. This morning, Eulen, the company that employs the striking staff who operate the airport’s security scanners, accepted a proposal made during negotiations mediated by the Catalan regional government, albeit with some modifications. The workers themselves will ultimately have the final say about the conditions that have been proposed, which include a raise of €200 a month for those on the lowest wages and the hiring of 100 extra employees.

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This is the first offer to come out of the mediated negotiations, after several prior meetings between the security staff and Eulen failed. The company’s latest offer included an average wage increase of 7.7% but negotiations with the regional government increased the raise to 11.5%. The workers will discuss the offer this Thursday.

The proposal includes adding a fifth employee to each security line

“While it’s not the most fair option, we believe the proposal is reasonable and can be discussed,” said Josep Ginesta, the general secretary of the regional labor department. While the Eulen works committee had originally called for a monthly salary increase of €350 a month for the lowest paid employees, the new offer sets that amount at €155.

In addition to pay, the offer also addresses the demands regarding improvements in the organization of work at the security checkpoint and an increase in staff. The proposal includes adding a fifth employee to each security line to allow the two employees watching the scanner and the two working with the passengers to provide better service. With 17 lines running in three shifts a day, 50 additional employees would need to be hired. In addition, the proposal included adding a pool of 25 relief workers to cover any absences or breaks.

While the negotiations were taking place, lines at El Prat to get through security were taking an hour to clear, despite there being no planned strikes for the day. Lines were also forming at airline counters as concerned passengers arrived early to the airport.

English version by Debora Almeida.


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