Europe Strikes Disrupt Flights from UK

The aviation industry was severely affected on Wednesday of this week, following a call for industrial action by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in several European countries.

Flights were delayed and cancelled as air traffic controllers staged walk outs as part of the coordinated strike action across Europe, with workers leaving their posts in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy, while further protests were held in Belgium, Germany, and France.

The strikes became violet in a number of locations in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, the four countries with above average unemployment rates in Europe. Unions in Spain commenced their protests as early as midnight of November 13, when the workers took to street in Madrid.

At least 70 people were injured in clashes with police, and some 140 arrests were made, while clashes in Lisbon resulted in injuries to around 50 people.

In calling for the industrial action, Bernadette Segol, the ETUC general secretary, said, ‘By sowing austerity, we are reaping recession, rising poverty and social anxiety. In some countries, people’s exasperation is reaching a peak. We need urgent solutions to get the economy back on track, not stifle it with austerity. Europe’s leaders are wrong not to listen to the anger of the people who are taking to the streets.

The Troika can no longer behave so arrogantly and brutally towards the countries which are in difficulty. They must urgently address the issues of jobs and social fiscal justice and they must stop their attacks on wages, social protection and public services.

The ETUC is calling for a social compact for Europe with a proper social dialogue, an economic policy that fosters quality jobs, and economic solidarity among the countries of Europe. We urgently need to change course.’

The industrial action has caused UK airlines, British Airways and Easyjet, to cancel or reschedule services to Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon and Thessalonaki in Greece, while a number of flights to Europe from London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports were also affected.