Europe’s travel strikes: Flight and train disruption you can expect over the New Year period

When, where and what disruption you can expect.

Strikes are a regular occurrence in Europe, as employees withhold their labour to fight for better pay and conditions.

Walkouts are sometimes planned months ahead but others are announced last minute, showing that it always pays to check before you travel.

Luckily, we have gathered all of the strike information together below.

Spain: Airport strikes in January

Iberia ground services staff will go ahead with strikes planned in the New Year after failing to reach an agreement.

After suspending industrial action planned in December, workers will walk out on 5-8 January.

It will affect all 29 airports where Spain’s flag carrier operates, including Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat, Palma de Mallorca, Seville and Valencia. 

So far, 444 flights from Iberia, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum have been cancelled during the strikes, which will occur over the Three Kings’ holiday. Passengers will be offered alternative flights.

The strikes have been called over working conditions and rights as workers are set to be outsourced to other companies.

The strikes could also affect flights with other airlines in the IAG group, including British Airways, Level, Aer Lingus and Vueling.

Airport security staff strikes in Alicante

Private security staff at Alicante-Elche airport are striking over working conditions and pay.

Ilunion Seguridad employees will walk out on 1-14 January.

Strike action will take place for two hours each day, from 8.45-9.45am and from 6-7pm, affecting security controls and baggage handling.

UK: London Tube strikes in January

The London Underground will grind to a halt in the new year as workers stage a seven-day rolling strike over pay.

Between 5-12 January, workers in various departments will strike on different days, bringing chaos to the network.

Commuters will be worst hit on 8-10 January, with most stations expected to be severely short staffed.

Portugal train strikes

Portugal’s trains will grind to a halt on 2 and 4 January as workers go on strike. The walkouts could cause continued disruption on 3 and 5 January.

More than half of scheduled trains could be cancelled as a result of the strikes, but minimum services will be maintained.

Italy: Baggage handler strikes in Milan

On 8 January, baggage handlers at Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa airports are set to stage a 24-hour strike. This could cause delays for travellers at check-in and baggage collection.

On the same day, security staff at various airports are due to strike, potentially causing delays at Rome Fiumicino, Venice Marco Polo and Amerigo Vespucci in Florence.

Nationwide public transport strike in Italy

A 24-hour public transport strike will hit Italy nationwide on 24 January. It could cause significant disruption for commuters using buses, trams and subways but is not expected to impact regional and long distance trains.

On the same day, air traffic controllers are set to walk out from 1-5pm, potentially causing delays and cancellations for travellers flying to and from Italy.

France: Train workers call off New Year strikes

French rail unions SudRail and CGT des Cheminots agreed not to strike over Christmas and New Year. 

Walkouts are still possible after the busy holiday period as disputes over pay continue.

Germany: Mass strikes could impact trains

Train drivers in Germany are in a long running dispute with train operator Deutsche Bahn over hours, pay and working conditions.

German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) sprang a ‘warning strike’ on the country’s public transport system in December. Deutsche Bahn has since accused GDL of conflict of interest, saying it acts as an employer and a union at the same time after forming a temporary worker cooperative.

If backed by the court, the allegations will mean GDL can no longer conclude collective agreements with railway companies.

In the meantime, strikes could hit Germany’s rail network this month. A five-day walkout threatened from 7 -11 January could impact Deutsche Bahn and the S-Bahn.

If you know of a big strike happening in your country that we have missed, we’d love to hear from you via Twitter.

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