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What’s the latest on the Ryanair strikes in Spain?

Spanish unions recently called on staff at budget airline Ryanair to hold a six-day strike in June and July, and as things stand, the stoppage is scheduled to go ahead. Here's everything you need to know and how it could affect Ryanair passengers.

Ryanair flights
Ryanair staff to strike in Spain. Photo: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

LATEST: Ryanair strike in Spain kicks off with hardly any cancelled flights

Many travellers planning on visiting Spain in the next couple of weeks could face disruptions as unions have called upon staff at budget airline Ryanair to strike.

As of Monday June 20th, no agreement has been reached in a bid to hold off the walkout. 

The strikes are scheduled to take place over six days on June 24th, 25th, 26th and 30th, as well as July 1st and 2nd.

In a meeting held on Friday between the Spanish trade union Unión Sindical Obrera (USO), Sitcpla – Independent Union of Airline Passenger Cabin Crew and the airline, no agreement had been made and no minimum number of services had been established either.

Low-cost airline Ryanair has requested that 100 percent of the flights scheduled over the six days of the strike be considered as minimum services. A measure that, according to the unions, voids the right to strike.

Union representatives, on the other hand, have requested that they establish a minimum of 50 percent of flights to the Balearics and the Canary Islands and 25 percent for mainland Spain.

Ryanair has not accepted the union proposal, so the next step will come from the Spanish Ministry of Transport, which will be in charge of setting minimum services and demand that negotiations be resumed.

On Monday June 20th, the unions are to meet with Civil Aviation to establish the minimum services and protect flights.

READ ALSO – Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

Workers’ unions have also criticised the fact that the airline has refused to release the members of the strike committee and that it has also not been willing to provide information on the flights that they want to consider minimum services, or information on the crews designated for those flights.  

This essentially means that travellers still don’t know yet if their flight will be affected or not.  

The stoppage has been called at the airline’s ten bases in Spain: Madrid, Málaga, Seville, Alicante, Valencia, Barcelona, ​​Girona, Santiago de Compostela, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca.  

Why are staff striking?

It is estimated that around 1,200 to 1,400 airline workers could walk out over the six days due to disagreements over Spanish labour legislation.  

Unions maintain that Ryanair staff are still not covered by Spanish labour legislation. Specifically, they are not guaranteed 22 days of vacation per year or 14 national holidays.

Access to the rights to reduce working hours due to legal guardianship or family care is also in dispute as workers do not receive their payroll though Spain’s legal labour model, nor are their contracts written in Spanish.

Meanwhile, the Irish company has explained that it has “successfully” concluded collective agreements with unions throughout Europe, including Spain.

“We believe that the strikes called by USO and Sitcpla will not be supported by our crew members and that there will be minimal if any, disruption to our customers, as happened in their previous failed strikes in 2018 and 2019,” Darrell Hughes, Chief People Officer of Ryanair told The Local Spain. 

The airline also disagreed with the unions saying: “We are aware of a number of falsehoods expressed by these unions in the Spanish media. Ryanair fully complies with all Spanish labour legislation, all of our employees in Spain have Spanish employment contracts and full Spanish labour rights”. 

“After a few weeks of negotiation with CCOO [Workers’ Commissions], we have successfully negotiated an agreement after being unable to reach an agreement with USO and Sitcpla for four years. It is important to note that the agreement with CCOO is a starting point and we are working on further agreements, including a new agreement this week with CCOO, with the ultimate goal of achieving a collective agreement next year that will apply to all Ryanair cabin crew in Spain”, added the representative of the company.

Ryanair also told The Local that as of yet, they didn’t know how many passengers or flights would be affected by the strikes. 

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TRAVEL: What Covid-19 entry requirements does Spain still have?

The pandemic no longer dominates daily life and travel, but do Spanish authorities still have restrictions in place for international travellers arriving during the summer of 2022?

TRAVEL: What Covid-19 entry requirements does Spain still have?

Spain’s tourism industry is in full swing again after two difficult years, with more than 38 million international visitors in the first half of 2022. 

All domestic restrictions have ended (with the exception of mask wearing in hospitals, other health-related centres, care homes and on public transport). 

But how about Covid-19 travel restrictions? Are the tests, form-filling and proof of vaccination that made travel to Spain in 2020 and 2021 more complicated still in place?

EU/Schengen Area countries

Passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea from EU and/or Schengen countries are not required to show proof of their Covid-19 status through a certificate (vaccination, testing or recovery) nor fill in the SpTH health control form that was previously needed.

For travellers who live in EU/Schengen nations, travel to Spain is now practically the same as it was in 2019 before the pandemic began, except that they will be required to wear a mask on the plane or inside the ferry (mask wearing on the latter depends on certain conditions).

Non-EU/Schengen countries

For UK nationals, Americans, Indians, Australians and all other third-country nationals arriving in Spain by air or sea, the pre-existing Covid-19 requirements are technically (more on this further down) still in place.

Therefore, non-EU/Schengen travellers arriving in Spain should be able to prove either that they’re:

  • Fully vaccinated. Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements. If more than 270 days have passed since your initial vaccination, you need to show proof of a booster shot.
  • Had a Covid-19 test which came back negative. This should be either a PCR taken within 72 hours prior to departure, or an antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to departure. 
  • Recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months. You can use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid-19 status on entry to Spain. 

The easiest way to show proof of one of the above is by showing your Covid-19 digital or paper certificate issued by the relevant authority of your country. So far, 48 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate equivalence system, which you can check out here

If the country where you were issued a vaccination, testing or recovery certificate isn’t on the list, then you will have to fill in Spain’s health control form before travel to Spain. 

It’s worth noting that the above requirements do not apply to children under the age of 12.

Is Spain really still asking non-EU travellers to show a Covid-19 certificate?

This really depends on the airport, the airport official and any other number of factors.

It is clear that Covid-19 and the seriousness with which Spain’s Health Ministry and therefore airport border officials treat the pandemic has fallen considerably in recent months.

Many non-EU travellers on Twitter have commented on the fact that they were not asked to show any proof of Covid vaccination, testing or recovery upon arrival in Spain. 

Others who have visited the country during the summer of 2022 have said that they were asked to provide proof of their Covid status.

Therefore, even though for those who go to the trouble of paying for a Covid-19 test which then doesn’t get checked it can seem like a waste of money, it is better to be safe than sorry.

All non-EU travellers should therefore keep in mind that, technically speaking, Spain’s rules still state that arrivals from outside of the EU/Schengen Area by air or sea must have proof of vaccination, testing or recovery, so make sure you carry this with you. 

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