It’s a tough time to be working in the aviation industry. Faced with staff shortages and huge levels of disruption, many workers at airlines and airports are facing long, stressful hours and poor working conditions. And, thanks to the cost of living crisis and pandemic pay cuts, loads of them are doing it all for lower wages, too.
Needless to say, it’s no wonder that so many staff at airports and airlines have already gone on strike over the past few months. From Italy and Belgium to Greece and France, airports across Europe have seen thousands of flights delayed and cancelled by industrial action.
Strikes can, obvs, have a serious impact on your holiday, so it’s best to be as informed about them as possible. Read on for our guide to who’s going on strike in Europe right now, where and when those strikes will happen – and whether you need to worry about them.
Strikes at London Heathrow
Baggage carousel workers at Heathrow have announced 13 different strike dates in October. They’ll take place from October 6-9 and October 20-30, in the form of a walkout between 5.30 pm on 6 and 6 am on 9, and 5.30 am on 20 until 6 am on 30. The strikes are taking place in protest against below-inflation offers on pay.
France national strike
A nationwide strike is being held in France on October 13 that is likely to impact air travel. The French civil aviation authority said that air traffic controllers at Paris-Orly, Marseille-Provence and Beauvais airports will be joining the strikes, so expect cancellations and delays.
Strikes in Spain
Jet2 has issued a warning to all its customers who are planning a trip to Spain, specifically Alicante, sometime in the rest of the year. Ground handlers have announced a series of strikes from September to January, for one hour in the morning and the evening, on the following dates.
September — 29, 30
October — 1, 3, 6-15, 17, 20-22, 24, 27-29, 31
November — 1-5, 7, 10-12, 14, 17-19, 21, 24-26, 28
December — 1-10, 12, 15-17, 19, 22-31
January — 1-14
Virgin Atlantic Pilots Strikes
According to Union Balpa, 96 percent of the 835 Virgin Atlantic pilots who participated in a recent vote are in favour of a ballot on industrial action. The proposed strike is in response to ‘serious concerns relating to pilot fatigue and wellbeing’ following scheduling arrangements that came into action during the pandemic. Watch this space for further information.
easyJet flight cancellations
A whopping 1,700 easyJet flights have been cancelled over the coming months, impacting over 180,000 passengers. From the flights and airports affected to your rights as a traveller, here is everything you need to know about the cancellations.
What happens if your airline goes on strike?
If the staff on strike cause your flight to be delayed or cancelled, the airline is usually obliged to help you and/or provide compensation. However, this often depends on the conditions of carriage of your airline, as well as the extent of your travel insurance. These should both be easily accessed on either your airline or insurer’s website.
However, if you book your flight already knowing that a strike is set to take place (ie. it’s already been announced by the union), you are exceptionally unlikely to receive compensation. Before you book, be sure to check for any strike dates not just at your intended airline but also at departure and arrival airports.
Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that the threat of a strike is exactly that: a threat. Strikes are primarily used as bargaining chips in negotiations between unions and employers, so there’s always the chance that both sides will come to an agreement before one actually takes place.
In any case, if your journey involves any of the above airlines, destinations and dates, be sure to keep an eye on your flight status and prepare for a more disrupted journey than expected.
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