British airline easyJet has cancelled 350 flights arriving to or departing from Portugal due to a five-day cabin staff strike scheduled for later this month, the SNPVAC union of civil aviation flight personnel said late on Monday 10 July.
EasyJet cabin staff in Portugal, a popular summer holiday destination, called a strike from 21 to 25 July to demand better working conditions and higher wages to cope with the soaring cost of living.
It will be SNPVAC's third strike since the beginning of the year as the union and the company continue talks to reach a new labour agreement for 2023-2035.
SNPVAC said in a statement that easyJet, the biggest airline in the UK by number of passengers, had so far cancelled 350 flights to or from Lisbon, Porto and Faro. That is the equivalent of 69% of all flights booked for that period.
"We will not accept the company continues to perpetuate its regime of maximum profitability and minimum wages," the union said, adding the strike "could have been avoided if the company wanted to".
EasyJet said in a statement that it would do all it could to mitigate the impact of the strike and that "all customers affected by cancellations are eligible for a refund or a free transfer to a new flight".
It said it was "extremely disappointed" the SNPVAC was planning further strike action despite the company's "willingness to pursue a constructive dialogue".
SNPVAC did not specify the salary increase it was seeking.
EasyJet said earlier in July it would cancel 2% of its summer flights over air traffic control challenges, affecting the holiday plans of 180,000 customers.
EasyJet Cancels 2% Of Summer Flights Over Air Traffic Worries
The above news followed news that British airline easyJet has axed 2% of its summer flight schedule, affecting the holiday plans of 180,000 customers, which it blamed on air traffic control challenges across Europe.
The travel industry is on high alert for disruption this summer after Europe's peak season last year was hit by cancellations, causing chaos at airports, because the industry did not have enough staff to handle the rapid bounce back in demand after the pandemic.
This summer, air traffic control issues are likely to be the weak spot, according to warnings from Eurocontrol, which manages European airspace.
EasyJet, the biggest airline in the UK by number of passengers, said on Monday 10 July that making changes now meant it could avoid last-minute cancellations which were more costly and caused passengers more inconvenience.
The airline said it had plenty of crew and pilots but worries over air traffic meant it had cancelled 1,700 flights, mostly from its biggest base at London's Gatwick airport, out of the 90,000 scheduled for the rest of July and August.
It said 95% of affected passengers had already been re-booked on an alternative flight because it had mostly consolidated flights with multiple frequencies.
Europe's airspace has been squeezed by the war in Ukraine leaving less capacity for aircraft, plus staffing issues at some air control locations and industrial action are causing bottlenecks, making on the day cancellations more likely.
"We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused," easyJet said in a statement.
The airline's shares were flat in trading on Monday.