Lisbon Airport resumes service after strikes

While luggage handlers have since returned to work, the union plans to hold further strikes on July 29 and August 2 to protest against staff shortages and lack of pay  

More than 300 flights were cancelled in Portugal due to a two-day strike by workers from the baggage-handling company Groundforce. Lisbon was the most severely affected airport with nearly all its employees taking part on Saturday.  

Called for by the Union of Airport Handling Technicians (STHA), the walkout was staged in anger over “the timely payment of wages and other pecuniary components” since February.  

Lisbon Airport
Photo Wiki Commons/Jcornelius

The company has experienced serious financial difficulties as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Passengers arriving in Lisbon were forced to wait for several hours to receive their bags while queues extended outside of the airport’s terminal, reports say.  

With other ground-handling organisations continuing to operate as normal, the industrial action had little impact on Portugal’s low-cost carriers, as well as its nine other airports.  

Flag carrier TAP - which partially owns Groundforce - had offered to loan the necessary funds to enable the company to settle the dispute, but this proposal was later rejected. It claims to be owed €12m by the airline for services rendered, something which TAP denies.