Spanish airport workers call off strike during pope visit

10th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Unions representing Spanish airport ground crew said Wednesday they have called off a strike which would have coincided with Pope Benedict XVI's four-day visit to the Spanish capital next week.

Three unions representing 60,000 check-in staff, baggage handlers and other ground workers -- CCOO, UGT and USO -- had planned to stage a 24-hour walkout on August 18, the day the pope is set to arrive in Madrid, and August 26.

The strikes were called Tuesday to protest the dismissal of four workers from a private company that runs baggage handling at Barcelona's El Prat airport, WFS Flightcare.

In a statement, the unions said they had called off the work stoppages after an agreement was reached with the ASEATA business association which represents baggage handling workers to reinstate the workers.

Two million passengers would have been affected by the strikes, according to the Spanish Federation of Travel Agents.

A union representing workers on the Spanish capital's underground trains, UGT-Metro, has called a strike for the afternoon of August 18 as well as 24-hour strikes on August 20 and August 21 in a separate industrial action.

The pope is scheduled to visit Madrid next week to lead World Youth Day celebrations, which take place August 16-21.

More than one million faithful are expected to flock to the Spanish capital for the Roman Catholic Church's youth festivities.

© 2011 AFP

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