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Portugal’s airport workers threaten to strike in late August

Portugal’s civil aviation workers on Monday threatened to go on a three-day strike in late August, accusing the conglomerate that operates the country’s biggest airports of failing to increase wages and provide better working conditions.

he strike threat by Portugal’s Civil Aviation Workers’ Union (SINTAC) and the Commercial Aviation Staff Union (SQAC) is the latest in a series of walkouts at a time Europe’s transport sector continues to struggle handling a return to travel after pandemic lockdowns.

The strike is set to take place from August 19 to 21, an usually busy summer weekend for travel, the unions said in a joint statement.

They have accused airport operator ANA, which manages 10 airports in Portugal including in Lisbon, Porto and Faro, and French group Vinci, which controls ANA, of making multi-million euro net profits but not paying decent wages to their workers.

The unions have also demanded that ANA and Vinci, which did not immediately reply to requests for comment, adopt “urgent” measures to guarantee workers feel safe while doing their jobs.

“Only by doing this (strike) we will be able to achieve what the company has been lacking for a long time: social stability, respect for workers’ rights and, fundamentally, for people,” the unions said.

The unions represent not only some cabin crew but also ground handling services and other companies related to the aviation sector.

In neighbouring Spain, air traffic controllers warned in early July they were likely to call a strike if state-owned air navigation company Enaire failed to hire more people for the peak summer season.

Ryanair workers caused disruption at many Spanish airports in July, when they walked out for several days, mainly at weekends.

They are expected to call for further strike action to press demands for higher pay and better working conditions.

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