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TRAVEL NEWS

EasyJet adds to Spain’s summer travel woes with 9-day strike

EasyJet’s Spain-based cabin crew will hold a nine-day strike over the course of July, causing further problems for travellers during a summer period already marred by other stoppages, cancellations and rising prices.

easyjet strike spain july
EasyJet's upcoming strike comes just days after the union representing Ryanair announced cabin Spain-based crew should also strike during June and July. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Around 450 workers belonging to the Spanish branch of low-cost airline easyJet are set to go on strike in July 2022, the trade union representing them announced on Tuesday June 21st.

As things stand, easyJet staff are scheduled to go on strike July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 15th, 16th, 17th, 29th, 30th and 31st.

It is yet to be confirmed whether this will mean that easyJet passengers booked to fly during those three weekends will see their flights cancelled.

According to airline representatives, “it is foreseeable that there will be some interruptions in our flight programme to and from Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona during the strike period”.   

The reasons given for the huelga (strike in Spanish) are the low wages that easyJet’s Spain-based cabin crew receive.

“Currently, easyJet crew members in Spain have a base salary of €950, which is €850 less than the base salary in France or Germany,” Miguel Galán, secretary general of USO, the union representing Málaga’s easyJet staff, told journalists on Tuesday.

The announcement comes just days after the trade union representing Ryanair’s Spain-based crew also called on workers to go on strike for six days on June 24th, 25th, 26th and 30th, as well as July 1st and 2nd, a stoppage which currently looks set to go ahead.

Ryanair’s staff in France, Portugal, Belgium and Italy have also announced they will join their Spanish counterparts and strike on June 24th, 25th and 26th.

READ MORE: What’s the latest on the Ryanair strike in Spain?

“We are very disappointed with this decision at such a critical time for the industry, especially as we have already made considerable progress towards a new collective agreement,” easyJet has said.

“We hope that instead of going in this direction, they (staff and unions) will return to negotiations with easyJet. 

“We would like to continue the constructive dialogue with them”, sources from the British budget airline have indicated. 

Talks at Interconfederal Mediation and Arbitration Service (SIMA) are scheduled for today Tuesday June 21st.

It has already proven to be a difficult summer for easyJet, with hundreds of flight cancellations due to a shortage of ground staff at key airports such as London’s Gatwick and Amsterdam’s Schiphol.

EasyJet has announced that between July and September it will only be able to operate 90 percent of its usual services in Europe.

It has not specified how many cancelled flights there will be or which ones, but the airline  headed by Johan Lundgren has assured that it will notify affected passengers in time and offer them the possibility of making a new booking on alternative flights.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example. 

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