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Spain strike woes continue for low-cost airlines Vueling and Ryanair

Cabin crew belonging to Spain’s low-cost airline Vueling have called for strikes from November until after Christmas, while more walkouts have been announced by Ryanair staff as well following a summer of travel disruptions.

Spain strike woes continue for low-cost airlines Vueling and Ryanair
Vueling staff to strike until January 2023. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Vueling Stoppages

The Vueling strikes are due to take place on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and public holidays, starting on November 1st 2022 and lasting until January 31st 2023.

Additional days that will be affected are November 1st, 6th and 8th, plus December 24th and 31st and finally January 5th 2023.

Unions representing cabin crew workers belonging to Spain’s biggest low-cost have not yet confirmed how many flights are likely to be cancelled or which airports will be most affected, as they will operate minimum services.

The chosen dates are meant to cause the biggest disruption possible on travel, affecting flights around the Christmas holidays and Three Kings’ Day.

The workers are demanding a wage increase in line with the rise in prices due to inflation, as well as protesting over the precarious work conditions that have been experienced within the sector since even before the pandemic.  

READ ALSO: Spain’s national rail calls train strikes: What you need to know

Stavla (Airline Flight Auxiliary Crew Union), together with union representatives has demanded a wage increase of 13.4 percent, after Vueling only offered a two percent rise.  

“We cannot continue to be in the precarious situation in which we find ourselves,” said Stavla representatives. The increase “is only intended to keep up with the current standard of living,” they added.

Stavla also confirmed that if the disagreements continue, they will extend the strike “indefinitely”.

Currently, Vueling is not backing down or giving in to the workers’ demands. They describe the requests as “unfeasible” and are criticising the workers for going on strike.

The airline is still suffering from losses of €1 billion incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to an increase in debt of €260 million to cover the impact of Covid-19 on its business. 

Vueling reached an agreement with the Workers’ Commissions Union (CC.OO) in August to raise salaries by 6.5 percent, but Stavla refused to sign and now wants an even higher salary increase.

Now “is not the time to be divided but to join our efforts to build the future of Vueling together”, representatives from the airline said. 

Ryanair Strikes 

Ryanair has seen successive strikes since the summer and unions have threatened that they could last until January.

This time, baggage handlers and other on-the-ground staff at seven different airports will be going on strike, starting on October 28th 2022, and ending on January 7th, 2023.

It is likely these airports will include Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Seville. However, it’s worth noting that Ryanair has said that it doesn’t actually expect this strike to cause that much disruption.

This stoppage was launched by some representatives of CC.OO. but is not backed by the union’s own leadership, after an agreement was made with the company, which prevented the strikes from spreading to more airports.  

Ryanair said that they do not expect these strikes to cause much disruption. 

Ongoing stoppages in the industry

Inflation, which this year has exceeded 10 percent, has been the final straw for workers in the airline sector, who not only had salaries frozen but many other issues during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Long hours and unpaid overtime, lack of personnel to cover the required services and widespread precariousness led to numerous strikes this summer by the staff of Ryanair, Easyjet, Lufthansa, Air France, SAS and Iberia Express. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Spain has third most powerful passport in the world

Those with Spanish citizenship are in luck because their passports are the third most powerful in the world, meaning they can travel to many different countries without the need for a visa.

Spain has third most powerful passport in the world

If you want to go on a last-minute break, it’s really only possible to countries that don’t require you to apply for a visa beforehand or issue you with a visa upon arrival. 

The Henley Passport Index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and each year it reveals the number of destinations that passport holders from around the world can access without a prior visa.

The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations and offers all kinds of information on global mobility, ultimately revealing which passports are the most powerful. 

Each country is scored on the total number of destinations that a holder of its passport can access without a visa. For each travel destination, if a visa is not required, they receive a score of one. This also applies if holders are able to obtain a visa on arrival, visitor permit or electronic travel authorisation (ETA) upon entry.

The rankings for 2023 show that Spain, along with Germany, is in joint third place, meaning that Spanish passport holders can visit a total of 191 countries without needing a visa.

READ ALSO: Why Spain is second favourite country for Americans to move to

In joint first place are Japan and Singapore whose passport holders can visit a total of 193 countries without requiring a visa.

They are closely followed by South Korea in second place, whose passport holders can visit a total of 192 countries.

After Spain and Germany, there are several European countries on the list. Those from Finland, Italy and Luxembourg come in fourth place, able to visit 189 destinations, while those from Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden come in fifth place able to visit 188 destinations.

These are followed by passports from France, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom in sixth place, allowing them to visit 188 countries without a visa.

According to the rankings, only 17 percent of countries give their passport holders access to more than 80 percent of the world without a visa.

The three countries with the least powerful passports are Afghanistan whose holders can only visit 27 countries without the need for a visa, Iraq with a score of 29 and Syria with a score of 30.

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