May 30, 2024

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Travel Chaos Looms As Air And Rail Strikes Spread, Full List

Travel Chaos Looms As Air And Rail Strikes Spread, Full List

It’s not easy to be traveling to and from many places across Europe at the moment with train and flight cancellations and delays due to spreading strikes by transportation workers ranging from Britain and Belgium to Spain and France — and set to continue through the Christmas and New Year holidays.

With pay disputes roiling the continent and rail and aviation industries’ unions threatening strikes throughout December and January, disruptions are highly probable as people attempt to get home for the holidays or have plans for holiday travel, particularly in several popular destinations.

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Currently, following various industrial actions across the continent this week, passengers are being advised to reconsider travel at least during the days of strikes in the affected countries to avoid potential disruptions and frustration.

Here’s a list of where and when the next strikes will happen to help guide your travel planning:

Although the Eurostar train service strike has been called off for now, Great Britain still faces mass disruptions as protests continue across Britain’s train companies in what some are calling an “Advent calendar of strikes” scheduled not only in the transportation sector for the holidays.

More than 100 Eurostar security staff are still set to strike on December 22 and 23 in a dispute over pay. While both sides are in talks, if the dispute is not resolved next week’s strikes will go ahead as planned.

“Travellers will face ‘significant disruption’ to their Christmas travel plans, after U.K. Border Force officers voted to strike over the holiday period,” warns Euronews.

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Industrial action will see Border Force officials walk out for eight days during the busy festive season, from December 23 to Boxing Day, and from December 28 to New Year’s Eve.

“Staff at UK borders will walk out over Christmas, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union has announced. PCS members employed by the Home Office on passport control will take action at London Heathrow and Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports,” warns TimeOut.

The mass strikes are expected to delay security checks, triggering lengthy queues. The government has announced that military personnel are being trained to attend security at airports, bur chaos is still expected for travellers and commuters.

According to ARGS (Airlines Routes and Ground Services), “Heathrow Airport insists that the vast majority of travelers will be unaffected by Border Force strikes, with contingency plans in place including Armed Forces back-up and UK, EU, US and Canadian passport holders able to use e-gates instead of manual booths.

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Baggage handlers and rail workers, too

“A wave of industrial action is expected to disrupt rail services for four weeks around Christmas,” The Guardian reports.

A 72-hour strike set from December 16-18 by baggage handlers working for 10 airlines at London’s Heathrow Airport have been called off at the last minute, but industrial action scheduled to begin on December 29 remains in place pending the outcome of the negotiations in a dispute over wages.

If agreement isn’t reached, it will affect passengers flying with a number of major airlines including Air Canada, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Egyptair, Finnair, Lufthansa, Qantas, Swiss and TAP Portugal.

The U.K. rail workers have also kicked off a month of strikes over pay and conditions already causing major disturbances that have been aggravated by heavy snow disruptions.

The U.K.’s largest rail union, RMT, has announced industrial actions involving about 40,000 members starting this week until January 8 for both Network Rail and the 14 train-operating companies under the U.K.’s Department of Transport and including the Gatwick Express.

Strikes are planned for December 16 and 17, as well as January 2, 4, 6 and 7.

RMT has also announced that workers will walk out from 6 pm on December 24 until December 27.

In France: Train Conductors and plane cabin crews

More than 60{0b5b04b8d3ad800b67772b3dcc20e35ebfd293e6e83c1a657928cfb52b561f97} of France’s TGV fast trains and Intercity trains were canceled early in the week due to a strike by national rail (SNCF) workers and unions have warned passengers of further cancellations for the Christmas and New Year’s weekends.

“The almost 10,000 SNCF conductors, of which nearly 3,000 work on the TGV and Intercity trains, work to maintain traffic and passenger safety. Trains cannot run without them,” Euronews writes.

Train conductors and ticket collectors have filed notice threatening to strike from December 23-26 and December 30 to January 2. Negotiations are continuing until December 22.

Sud-Rail union has also filed for nationwide strikes from December 15-19 after pay negotiations with SNCF broke down. The walkout is set to start just one day before the school holidays begin in France.

Cabin crew for Air France have also issued a provisional notice for strikes between December 22 and January 2. Pay negotiations are also in process.

The situation in Portugal

After strikes by TAP Portugal cabin crew took place on December 8 and 9 leading to 360 canceled flights, more are now planned over the Christmas period.

Exact dates have not yet been announced but the National Union of Civil Aviation Personnel agreed to schedule a minimum of five days of action before January 31.

Strikes in Spain for Christmas

The main Spanish trade union, CCOO, announced this week that 10,000 workers at airport operator Aena are planning to walk out around Christmas and New Year.

The airports affected include Madrid, Bilbao, Ibiza, Seville, the Canary Islands, with the proposed dates of disruption set for December 22, 23, 30 and 31, and January 6 and 8. The union has also warned that if the conflict goes unresolved they will continue with industrial actions through the first quarter of 2023 — including Easter.

Prolonged walkouts have been taking place at airports in Spain since November.

An ongoing strike by Ryanair employees is planned to last until January 7 and may affect travellers booked to fly during the Christmas an end-of-year holidays at various airports including Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga.

Ryanair has stated that it expects disruption during December to be minimal.

Cabin crew from Vueling airline are also taking part in long standing walkouts that started in November and will go on until December 31.

The airline has also declared that the industrial action will cause minimal disruption for passengers.

Strikes in Belgium

A rail strike last week in Belgium, saw three-quarters of the trains across the country canceled.

Today, December 16, unions have voted to strike at Zaventem airport in Brussels in disputes over wages and an energy price cap. Air traffic controllers and baggage handlers are the main strikers and airline capacity could be reduced by 70{0b5b04b8d3ad800b67772b3dcc20e35ebfd293e6e83c1a657928cfb52b561f97}.

Other dates are not yet confirmed.

Although no additional rail strikes are planned for the month of December, Belgian unions ACV Puls and CNE have warned about imminent strikes at budget airline Ryanair during the holiday season due to poor working conditions for employees.