Aena has a chairman (and a minister)

On the matter of the industrial action by Barcelona airport’s security staff, Aena has washed its hands to the point of neglect

Eulen's employees have as much right to go on strike and insist that their demands be heard as anyone else, even if the immediate consequences of their protest are so ostensibly bothersome for the collateral victims of the conflict: those of us who travel through Barcelona’s El Prat airport. It is up to us to try to sympathise with them and put ourselves in their shoes. A different matter is our right to dream about an airport management system where Eulen staff are moved to more useful jobs than the ones they are doing at the moment: anyone who has gone through the security checks at El Prat (and at Majorca’s Son Sant Joan airport) is well aware that the show of force they put on is as dramatic as it is ineffectual. Eulen’s employees should not be held accountable for this; instead, those responsible for the management of airports in Spain should: namely, Aena and the Spanish authorities.

On the matter of the industrial action by Barcelona airport’s security staff, Aena has washed its hands to the point of neglect. It has taken Aena thirteen days to sit down at the negotiating table, a time during which the El Prat facility has been in complete disarray and over 10,000 passengers have missed their flight, with all the obvious negative consequences of that. But thirteen days have not been enough and the strike continues this week as, when Aena finally turned up for talks represented by airport director Sònia Corrochano, the firm kept a low profile and produced an agreement proposal that —to be kind— you could call a stalling tactic.

But time is precisely what we are short of. It beggars to question where Aena chairman José Manuel Vargas could possibly be, given that he has not uttered a single word on an affair that —as time ticks away— prompts us to demand his resignation ever more forcefully. It is worth mentioning that Vargas got the job after being CEO of Madrid daily ABC and its parent company, Vocento, whose right-wing Spanish nationalist bias is well-known and has stood the test of time. In other words, he is a staunch Partido Popular man. This might explain why he and Spain’s Transport Minister are applying to El Prat the recipe for conflict resolution espoused by their leader, PM Mariano Rajoy: sit on the fence until the situation deteriorates and then turn up with a proposal and an attitude that come across as a joke. Last weekend minister Íñigo de la Serna deigned to incarnate in his deputy, someone called Julio Gómez-Pomar, who displayed his hatred for tourists when he criticised travellers who —according to him— turn up at the airport hours before their departure time just to get in the way and, above all, Eulen’s staff whose claims are apparently ludicrous and unacceptable, such as a 30 per cent pay rise (at present they earn about 900€ a month). Last call for Mr Vargas and Mr de la Serna: you are expected at El Prat airport.