The Spanish Airline Pilots Union (Sepla) published the call on 19 March after announcing its intention to stop work during May and June in view of the deadlock in negotiations on the 5th Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Therefore, the call complies with the legal minimum notice period – ten calendar days for public service providers – and has been set for 1 May, a public holiday in much of the world, and extends to the following day, in the middle of the May bank holiday in the Community of Madrid, which is celebrated on 2 May.
Sepla argues that the strike responds to the “tension and labour conflict generated by Air Europa managers” in the negotiation of the agreement, which also failed with the mediation of the Interconfederal Service of Mediation and Arbitration (SIMA).
Specifically, the union has accused the company of “playing games” with workers’ rights and “disguising” as proposals what amounts to a “real loss” of the labour rights of the previous collective agreement.
Sepla has denounced that Air Europa pilots “feel discriminated against by the company” as the only group “affected by this way of acting of the company” and refuses to give in because this “would be irresponsible with the professional and personal future of the pilots’ collective”.
They also allege that the airline’s management “have opted for confrontation instead of negotiation, threatening and disqualifying the pilots instead of seeking a point of understanding between both parties” during the SIMA mediations.
The pilots’ representation values their commitment to the future of the company, demonstrated during the pandemic, and their “responsibility to social peace” by not calling a strike since 2011, but they “will not allow” a business management that “seeks to profit against users and workers”.
They also recall that the pilots approved last February the representation by Sepla and express their desire that this strike “does not serve as an excuse to coerce and pressure”, although “it has already happened in the circular sent by the company management to its employees”.
In the circular, to which Europa Press had access, the company’s management described the strike as “irresponsible and selfish” and warned of the millions of dollars in losses it could cause, which would compromise future actions, such as the purchase of new aircraft, and the fulfilment of the Viability Plan.
“A measure as drastic and selfish as this strike, as well as its disproportionate effects, are not going to help the pilots’ union representatives or the pilots themselves to achieve the objectives they set out to achieve, but quite the opposite,” they warned in the communiqué.
AIR EUROPA: COMPENSATION OF AT LEAST 250 EUROS
Facua-Consumers in Action has warned all passengers who are affected by the strike that they are entitled to compensation of at least 250 euros and to a refund of the amount of the ticket and the expenses they have had to bear if their flight is cancelled.
The organisation recalls that European Regulation 261/2004 provides for compensation in the event of flight cancellations.
Specifically, Article 7 of the regulation states that “passengers shall receive compensation amounting to 250 euros for flights up to 1,500 kilometres, 400 euros for intra-Community flights over 1,500 kilometres and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres, and 600 euros for all other flights”.
The association also reminds airlines that a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in April 2018 determined that a workers’ strike is not considered within the concept of “extraordinary circumstances” – which exempts from handing over the amounts – so “the company cannot refuse the compensation demanded of it either”.