Bilateral Relations Business Diplomatic Europe Featured Finance National Security News Platform Politics Tourism Travel Travel Ideas World News

Europe’s summer travel strikes: When, where and what disruption you can expect in July

Workers across Europe are walking out to protest low pay and poor working conditions.

Europe is a hive of strike action right now, with many employees unhappy that sky-high inflation has not been matched by higher wages.

Walkouts are planned all over Europe, showing that it always pays to check before you travel.

Luckily, we have gathered all of the strike information together below.

Read on to find out where and when are walkouts taking place.

If your flight or train is cancelled or delayed, you will be entitled to a new ticket or compensation. Read our guide for the full details.

France: Travellers warned about ongoing French protests

Unions across France have been in an ongoing battle against an increase in the legal retirement age from 62 to 64.

Protests broke out across the country after President Emmanuel Macron decided to push through the change without a parliamentary vote. Strikes have been ongoing since January and have heavily impacted travel. 

While the pace of industrial action has slowed down, air traffic controller strikes are still having an impact with budget airline Ryanair having to cancel 900 flights in June. 

Is it safe to travel to France right now?

Violent protests after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Nahel Merzou have also sparked warnings from the UK, US and Germany for holidaymakers hoping to visit France. 

They advise travellers to monitor the media, avoid areas where riots are taking place and follow the advice of authorities. 

Locations and timing are unpredictable but in Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Grenoble, Lille and Toulouse, recent demonstrations spilled over into violence. There have been heavy clashes with police, cars set alight and shops looted.

Protests in the last week have seen buses and trams stop at 9pm and some local authorities imposing curfews. Cross-border public transport from Geneva also stopped for some time on Friday evening. 

Scotland: Glasgow Airport workers set to strike

Unite the union has announced key worker strikes at Glasgow Airport after OCS Group – which provides facilities management services – failed to improve its pay offer. 

The dates for the 24-hour walkouts are 6 July and 11 July. This will impact services aiding passengers with mobility issues, such as those using wheelchairs.

Further strikes at both Edinburgh and Glasgow airports have been called off after deals were struck with the unions, with staff accepting 11 to 12 per cent pay rises. 

England: Summer strikes at London Heathrow called off

Security staff have called off strikes at London Heathrow Airport after voting to accept a pay offer. 

More than 2,000 staff were due to strike for 31 days this summer. The industrial action would have coincided with the beginning of the school holidays and the August bank holiday in the UK. 

Passengers were worried that it could lead to a repeat of the chaos seen at the airport last year. 

But now strikes have been called off, Heathrow has said it is looking forward to delivering an “excellent summer” for travellers. 

Potential strikes at Birmingham Airport in July

Around 100 staff at Birmingham Airport in the Midlands are voting to strike over pay. 

Security guards and technicians voted in favour of strikes last week but dates have not yet been set. Aircraft refuellers were also balloted for industrial action this week. 

Walkouts could start as early as July, potentially leading to “significant delays and cancelled flights”, according to Unite.

Rail strikes across the UK in July

Members of the RMT Union are due to strike on 20, 22 and 29 July. It will affect 14 different rail operators and previous walkouts have caused massive disruption for train services across the country. 

Not all services will be cancelled during the strike and travellers should check the National Rail website before making their journey. 

Sweden: Security strikes at airports in July

Strikes by the Swedish Transport Workers’ Union that would have affected Stockholm Arland Airport, Bromma Stockholm Airport and Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport have been called off. 

The union and industry body Almega Security Companies reached an agreement on improved pay and scheduling policies meaning strikes due to start on 4 July will no longer take place. 

Italy: Strikes across public transport and airports in June and July

Transport strikes aren’t unusual in Italy during the summer. Italian unions representing staff from airlines, rail operators and public transport have already announced a number of strikes this year.

There is likely to be regional disruption from walkouts at regional transport companies so it’s worth checking before you travel. 

Nationwide public transport strikes

On Friday 7 July, public transport staff across the country will strike for 24 hours. Everything from trains to ferries and metro services is likely to face delays and disruption due to the walkouts.

The level of disruption is likely to vary from city to city and even from service to service to its worth checking with your travel provider to see how you could be impacted.

Public transport will be affected from midnight on 6 July until the beginning of service on 7 July then again from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm to midnight. Minimum service is guaranteed from the beginning of service on 7 July until 8:29 am and from 5:01 pm to 7:59 pm.

Train strikes for Trenitalia and Italo

On Tuesday 13 July, staff from national rail operator Trenitalia and private operator Italo will walk out for 23 hours. 

All services from these two companies could see delays, cancellations and disruption due to the industrial action but it is likely to vary depending on the region you are travelling in. 

Both companies are likely to guarantee minimum services during the strike but further information hasn’t yet been released. 

Ground staff strike at major airports

On the same day as public transport workers stage a nationwide strike (7 July), ground staff at airports including Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa and Amerigo Vespucci in Florence will stage walkouts. This could lead to airport delays.

Italy’s air traffic controllers to walk out

On Saturday 15 July staff at Italy’s main air traffic control operator ENAV are going on strike for 24 hours. 

There aren’t yet many details on what disruption this walkout is likely to cause but it could cause cancellations and delays at airports across the country.

Spain: Daily strikes from airline staff

Since 6 June, the Spanish Union of Airline Pilots has been carrying out a “daily indefinite strike” against Air Nostrum, the regional airline run by Iberia. The strike has forced the cancellation of 20 per cent of the airline’s flights and also delayed other flights.

The strike is taking place every weekday and there are no signs of a breakthrough in talks so far. 

Germany: Further rail strikes possible

Germany’s EVG trade union, which represents railway and transport workers, has called a series of ‘warning strikes’ this year over pay. These have impacted Deutsche Bahn train services, and other rail routes. 

Wage talks collapsed in June, bringing the prospect of more walkouts. Dates are yet to be announced but union members are set to vote on an unlimited strike. 

EVG has said that if no agreement is reached, strikes are likely to take place in autumn which will cause fewer disruptions during the holiday season. 

Lufthansa strikes possible in July

Lufthansa pilots are currently considering a new pay offer from the flag carrier. 

Workers agreed on a truce on strikes that ends on 30 June, meaning summer walkouts could be on the cards if the offer is rejected. 

Unions entered into important talks with the airline last week which will determine whether industrial action takes place. 

Belgium: Ryanair staff threaten two day strike

Two trade unions – CNE and ACV Puls – and pilots’ union Beca are threatening to strike in Belgium on 15 and 16 July

Ryanair allegedly told pilots in the country that it wanted to cancel an agreement on working hours and rest. They also agreed to a 20 per cent pay cut at the start of the pandemic which is still in place. 

The unions have given the budget airline an ultimatum – present a serious proposal to solve these issues by Friday 14 July or they will walk out for two days. Further strike dates could continue until the COVID-19 agreement expires in October.

“We apologise in advance to passengers planning to travel with Ryanair between now and October 2024 who may be affected by these strikes.,” the unions said in a press release.

“But we can no longer allow Ryanair to violate the basic principles of Belgian social dialogue.”