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Update: what’s the latest on Ryanair strikes in Spain?

As Spanish Ryanair staff held more strike action today, there were delays and cancellations at airports across Spain. The Local looks into the latest developments.

Update: what's the latest on Ryanair strikes in Spain?
A Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS aircraft lands at El Prat airport in Barcelona earlier in July. Photo: Pau BARRENA/AFP

Many travellers planning on visiting Spain in the next couple of weeks are likely to face disruptions as unions have called upon staff at budget airline Ryanair to strike, and EasyJet employees also have walk-outs planned.

July 13th was just one day out of a total of 12 in July called by unions USO and Sitcpla to force the budget Irish airline to renegotiate a new collective agreement with its workers. Union bosses say Ryanair refuses to adapt the contracts to Spanish legislation.

The first wave of strike action, held at the beginning of July, caused 215 flights to be cancelled and 1,225 delayed. This latest round of strike action is set to last for four days, from Tuesday 12th to Friday 15th July.

Overall, unions have announced 12 days of strike action against Ryanair throughout July. When the latest round ends on Friday 15th July,  they are due to start again from July 18th to 21st and then again from July 25th to 28th.

Dates and airports affected

Ryanair flights to and from Spain could be affected on July 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th at all Spanish airports where Ryanair operate: Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Seville, Valencia, Girona, Alicante, Santiago de Compostela, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza.

Today’s strikes

Spanish media have reported that today’s (July 13th) strike action – the second day of the second round – has caused ten cancellations and 121 delays, with Barcelona-El Prat airport having the most cancellations, with six, and Madrid airport four cancellations.

El Prat airport also faced the brunt of delays, too, with 29, 14 in departures and 15 in arrivals, and Palma had 28 delays, Málaga airport 20 delays.

With further strike action scheduled, and Easyjet staff also walking out, it seems it could be a summer of interruptions for thousands of people wanting to take their first foreign holiday since the COVID-19 pandemic, and an agreement between unions and employers does not yet seem any closer.

READ MORE: Ryanair and EasyJet staff to extend Spain strike into July

Unions have criticised Ryanair for bringing in replacement cabin crew staff, and has pushed Spain’s Labour Minister, Yolanda Díaz, to intervene in the dispute “not to allow Ryanair to violate labour legislation and constitutional rights such as the right to strike.”

“The unions and crew of Ryanair demand a change of attitude from the airline,” USO and Sitcpla said in a joint statement.

In a statement, Ryanair said: “The vast majority of Ryanair crews are working normally,” and that it expects “a minimal alteration of its flights.”

EasyJet employees are also scheduled to walk-out in July, further compounding travel plan problems for thousands of holidaymakers. EasyJet staff are taking strike action on July 15th, 16th, 17th, 29th, 30th and 31st at its three operative airports: Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, and Málaga.

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TRAVEL

TRAVEL: Tourists in Spain will also be eligible for free train tickets

In welcome news for tourists and travellers in Spain, holidaymakers will be eligible to take advantage of Spain's 100% discounts on train travel later in the year.

TRAVEL: Tourists in Spain will also be eligible for free train tickets

Tourists will be eligible for Spain’s free train ticket scheme that will be phased in later on this year, as confirmed to the Spanish press by sources in Spain’s Ministry of Transport this week.

“If a foreign tourist is a frequent user of the [train] network, he can make use of this subscription. If they want to complete the trips, they will not be asked for any type of card,” the source said.

Additionally, in further news of particular interest for British and American travellers, no differentiation will be made between tourists nor between EU and non-EU nationals for the discounts. Free train travel will be available to all tourists, regardless of where they’re from.

It is hoped that the free train travel will entice more visitors to Spain and continue the sector’s post-pandemic recovery, which for the first six months of the year exceeded pre-pandemic (2019) levels by 1.1 percent, according to figures from the association of Spanish tourism companies, Exceltur.

Tourism experts expect Spain to surpass the number of foreign visitors in the last four months of 2019 – over 20 million tourists – despite upwards inflationary pressures on the cost of flights and accommodation.

But like everything in life, there are terms and conditions. You won’t be able to waltz on any train in Spain for free, and it isn’t year-round.

When?

This eye-catching travel discount will be available from September 1st to December 31st 2022, during which multi-journey train tickets on the trains outlined below will be free.

Free train travel

The 100 percent discount scheme, which will cost public coffers a reported €200 million, will only be valid on certain lines and comes amid a series of measures put in place by the government to try and ease the pain of rising inflation and prices, but also to lower pressures on fuel following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ensuing energy crisis. 

READ ALSO: How much can you save on public transport in Spain with the new state discount?

“The government will subsidise 100 percent of the public service of commuter trains operated by Renfe. We hope that the autonomous communities can complement this enormous effort made by the Spanish government,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said when announcing the scheme in the Spanish Congress.

But which trains will be free, when, and how can you take advantage of them?

Which trains are free?

Unfortunately, the Spanish government has not given everyone in Spain free train travel on every route and on every type of train.

There are rules.

Simply put, local and commuter trains will be free. Cercanías, Rodalies (Catalonia), and Media Distance (local and medium-distance journeys) will be 100 percent free of charge.

The policy is aimed at encouraging the use of trains as opposed to other fossil fuel intensive forms of transport, and it’s valid for journeys up to 300km.

That in mind, trips on long-distance or high-speed trains, such as AVE and Alvia, are not included in the plan.

Neither will the routes in Avlo, the low-cost AVE option established in 2021, nor the medium and high-speed Avants.

Avlo and Avants will instead have a 50 percent discount on the original price, as outlined by the government in June.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer free train trips: when, where and how?

The Spanish government are yet to announce in detail how exactly the discounts will work, or how to apply for them.

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