EasyJet cabin crew in Spain have announced plans to stage nine days of strike action in July in an escalating dispute over pay and conditions for Spanish workers who claim to be paid less than the airline’s own cabin crew in other European countries including France and Germany.
The USO union represents around 450 of easyJet’s Spain-based cabin crew in the popular summer destinations of Barcelona, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca.
If the strike goes ahead, cabin crew are set to walk out for three consecutive days at a time from July 1st – 3rd, 15th – 17th and 29th – 31st. The union is demanding at least a 40 per cent pay hike in order to keep up with the wages that cabin crew doing the same job are earning in other countries.
“Our bases are in very expensive cities and with the base salary we barely cover the rent or mortgage,” bemoaned the union’s general secretary Miguel Galán on Tuesday. “Spain has the lowest base salary for its crew members of all EasyJet bases in Europe,” Galán explained.
The union estimates that cabin crew are earning a base salary before commission and overtime of €950 per month, while crew in France and Germany are earning nearly double that amount.
Galán says the union has been negotiating with easyJet since February in an attempt to win a big pay rise but talks have so far failed to win a major concession from the budget carrier.
EasyJet did not immediately comment on the strike action or say what kind of impact it might have on its operations.
On Monday, the embattled budget carrier was forced to slash its summer schedule due to ongoing “operational problems” which have included staff shortages. The airline blames “a very tight labour market” for its labour woes which are set to stretch into the autumn.
The USO union has also called strike action for its cabin crew at Ryanair over the next few weeks. Cabin crew based in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium are all set to stage strike action in a bid to win pay rises from the Irish low-cost airline.
Ryanair has so far refused to budge and says the strike action will have little effect on its operations.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.