LISBON, July 17 (Reuters) – Two hundred flights were canceled at Lisbon airport on Saturday at the start of a two-day strike by employees of the handling company Groundforce, with further cancellations likely before the end of the action on Sunday evening, the company that manages Portugal Airports (ANA) said.
A spokesperson for the Union of Airport Handling Technicians, which called for the strike, told the local Lusa news agency that around 100% of workers took part in the strike in Lisbon on Saturday, the busiest airport. frequented from the country.
The strike had a huge impact on the Portuguese-flagged company TAP, which uses Groundforce’s handling services, but did not affect low-cost companies.
Groundforce employees are demanding that the material handling company, which is in serious financial difficulty due to the coronavirus pandemic, pay wages and paid time off this year without delay.
The strike mainly affects the functioning of Lisbon airport and has little impact on the 9 remaining Portuguese airports, said Thierry LigonniÃ¨re, director general of ANA.
“We are still anticipating difficulties tomorrow and a gradual return to normal on Monday,” LigonniÃ¨re told reporters.
Groundforce is 50.1% owned by the Portuguese company Pasogal and 49.9% owned by the TAP-Air Portugal group, itself 72.5% controlled by the Portuguese state.
TAP offered to lend the money to Groundforce to pay for paid time off for its workers, but the proposal was rejected by the handling company.
Report by Sergio GonÃ§alves; Editing by Christina Fincher
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