Spain holidays may be affected as passport controllers at “chaotic” Mallorca airport are striking.
The airport workers are beginning an indefinite strike over pay and conditions as they complain about “drunken Brits”.
Hundreds of thousands of Britons will be facing passport chaos today Palma Mallorca airport.
National police have been called in to Palma airport in Mallorca following confirmation of an indefinite strike which started at midnight today.
About 100 controllers are taking action in protest over pay and conditions and the airport authority Aena is having to draft in reinforcements in a bid to avoid lengthy queues.
The strike comes as the staff complain about poor pay and conditions and say they have to deal with drunken Britons going through passport controls with their “unruly behaviour”, as well as “attacks, gender violence and false passports.”
“The entire airport is precarious,” said a union official who denounced the “measly wages” passport staff receive.
Their complaints also include the risk of back and leg problems for sitting down so much and lack of training.
Travel firms and airlines are advising holidaymakers to leave their hotels early, with sources suggesting it could take several hours to get through security checks. By law, a “minimum” service of 62 per cent has been ordered by the government.
A number of airlines have issued tweets ahead of the predicated issues.
Jet2 wrote: “We have been made aware of industrial strike action taking place at Palma de Mallorca Airport from 24/08/2019.
“This means there won’t be as many security staff at the airport and customers may experience longer queues in Passport Control and Immigration areas #Majorca.”
Aena simple tweeted: “Strike of the Acciona Facilities company Services support staff at the passport control of Palma de Mallorca Airport starting tomorrow, August 24th.”
Over the weekend, when the airport is at its busiest, National Police officers will be on duty at passport control in Module A, which is the one used for passengers from non-Schengen countries, e.g. the UK.
On Saturday and Sunday, Aena says, some 400 flights and 74,000 passengers will be affected. The reinforcement, it explains, is to minimise the impact of the strike and not affect the normal operations of the airport in terms of both air traffic and passenger movement.
Brits will be particularly affected because of the number of flights arriving and departing Mallorca for the UK. Passengers from Scandinavian countries will also be affected, in addition to travellers who connect to destinations in Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Israel (Tel Aviv), Algeria and Morocco.
Last-ditch talks broke down today so the indefinite strike goes ahead. The passport controllers’ employer, Acciona Facility Service offered various concessions and payments for overtime, plus more fixed contracts but these were rejected by 56 votes to 17.
It is understood the company offered £60 extra for workers hired to do a 40-hour week and another £60 for staff who have been with Acciona for 18 months, affecting just eleven people. A pledge was also made to convert 30 per cent of the temporary staff to permanent.
Union representatives with the CCOO have cited “systematic” errors in wages, alleged breaches of regulations on risk prevention and organisational problems, as well as low wages, for their protest.
Aena says it will be doing all it can to keep queues down.
Another warning has been issues for those on holidays to Spain after the region was hit by a deadly bacterial infection.
The number of confirmed people affected by the outbreak has already reached 150, while there are still more than 500 suspects waiting for the results of tests.
Regions affected include Andalusia, Madrid and Extremadura, Aragon and three in Catalonia.
The figure is expected to rise because in addition to the 523 that remain suspects in Andalusia, there are at least six possible cases in Madrid, including a baby; one in Castilla y León, and three more in Castilla-La Mancha.
The FCO have not updated their advice despite the ongoing situation.
By EMILY HODGKIN Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.