Na­tional air­ports will­ing to in­crease wages - but it's the gov­ern­ment's de­ci­sion

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - News Staff Re­porter jparkes@cb­

CEN­TRAL gov­ern­ment has been passed the hot potato of avoid­ing strikes at all Span­ish air­ports - in­clud­ing Ali­cante, San Javier and Va­len­cia - through­out this au­tumn.

As pub­lished in Costa Blanca News last week, trade unions rep­re­sent­ing work­ers for na­tional air­port com­pany AENA and state air traf­fic con­trol com­pany Enaire have called 25 days of stop­pages start­ing on Septem­ber 15 and run­ning un­til Christ­mas.

Unions say they had not re­ceived a re­ply from the gov­ern­ment to their de­mands over im­prove­ments to their terms and con­di­tions.

How­ever on Mon­day, a meet­ing took place be­tween rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the UGT, CCOO and USO unions and the gen­eral man­agers of AENA and Enaire, José Manuel Var­gas and An­gel Luis Arias re­spec­tively.

The meet­ing proved both sides are prac­ti­cally in agree­ment over the need to in­crease staff and salaries as de­manded by work­ers.

The prob­lem lies in the fact that 51% of shares in both com­pa­nies are in the hands of the state, there­fore the last word on staffing and salary mod­i­fica- tions must be given by cen­tral gov­ern­ment, and more pre­cisiely tax of­fice and civil ser­vice min­is­ter Cristóbal Mon­toro.

State em­ploy­ment fig­ures for this year set by his min­istry were tar­geted at re­plac­ing/adding 163 work­ers to AENA and 39 to Enaire - a to­tal of 202. Unions are de­mand­ing 600.

The unions also claim the ex­tra­or­di­nary prof­its be­ing ob­tained by both com­pa­nies are not shared among work­ers who they claim have lost 8% of their pur­chas­ing power in re­cent years.

Ev­ery­thing now de­pends on a meet­ing be­tween AENA and Enaire bosses with the sec­re­tary of state for trans­port and in­fras­truc­ture, Julio GómezPo­mar, next Tues­day (Au­gust 29).

Ac­cord­ing to AENA, meet­ing both staffing and salary de­mands would not place a bur­den on pub­lic cof­fers, as both AENA and Enaire ' are self-fund­ing thanks to their own in­come and do not de­pend on the na­tional bud­get'.

If Sr Mon­toro does not budge, unions have no­ti­fied 24hour strikes will take place on Septem­ber 15, 17, 22, 24 and 29; Oc­to­ber 1, 6, 11, 15, 27, 30 and 31; Novem­ber 3 and 5; and De- cem­ber 1,4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30.

The strikes will af­fect air­port fire ser­vices, run­way man­age­ment per­son­nel, se­cu­rity and com­puter ser­vices, con­trol tower main­te­nance, bag­gage carousels and air­port car park op­er­a­tions, along with other sec­tors.

Strikes would not af­fect air traf­fic con­trollers as they fall un­der a dif­fer­ent labour agree­ment within Enaire.

Pub­lic works min­is­ter Iñigo de la Serna, also re­spon­si­ble for air­ports, said this week in San­tander that he is 'con­fi­dent that an agree­ment can be reached' and that the gov­ern­ment is 'will­ing to lis­ten and an­a­lyse all pro­pos­als made'.

How­ever, he him­self passed the hot potato back to his Cab­i­net col­league Cristóbal Mon­toro by point­ing out that 'all ne­go­ti­a­tions must take into ac­count civil ser­vice reg­u­la­tions', in­sist­ing there can­not be dif­fer­ences be­tween dif­fer­ent civil ser­vants within the same cat­e­gories.

A UGT spokesman re­mained up­beat over the pos­si­bil­ity of reach­ing an agree­ment when a meet­ing is held with the sec­re­tary of state for trans­port and in­fras­truc­ture on Au­gust 31.

Se­cu­rity strike

Re­gard­ing the Prose­gur se­cu­rity strike threat at Ali­can­teElche air­port, work­ers will be meet­ing on Mon­day (Au­gust 28) to dis­cuss their de­mands and present their pro­pos­als to man­age­ment.

The CCOO union, which has called the em­ploy­ees' as­sem­bly along with UGT and CSIF, says work­ers will also dis­cuss 'which mea­sures they will take if the com­pany fails to meet their de­mands'.

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