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Europe’s summer travel strikes: Everything you need to know

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.

Europe: Air traffic controllers to vote over a potential deal

Union Syndicale Bruxelles (USB), a union which represents EU civil servants, has reached a deal in principle with Eurocontrol to prevent weeks of strikes this summer. 

The offer has been put to a vote by union members and USB is hoping for a “positive outcome to the vote” after which the ‘pre-warning’ for industrial action will be withdrawn. 

Staff at Eurocontrol, which manages Europe’s skies, threatened industrial action that could begin with just five days’ notice at any point over the next six months. 

The staff involved work at Eurocontrol’s network management centre. This location plays a vital role in ensuring the efficiency of air traffic control across the continent. It validates aircraft’s flight plans and checks tens of thousands of messages per day. 

USB says that it has threatened strikes due to a row over a 25 per cent shortage in staff, management behaviour and an imposed roster system. 

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. 

Delays and limited flights over the country are also causing more airspace congestion across Europe, leading to further disruption. 

Paris transport strikes threatened over Rugby World Cup

Paris Metro workers have threatened strike action during the Rugby World Cup, which runs from 8 September to 28 October at Stade de France, Saint-Denis.

While train drivers will receive a bonus in recognition of the additional services they must run during the event, station staff have not been offered additional pay.

Members of trade union FO-RATP, which represents public transport workers in Paris, have threatened to walk out over the issue. Negotiations are currently ongoing.


England: Summer rail and airport strikes

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 airports last year. 

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

Fresh strikes at Gatwick Airport announced

Ground handling and passenger assistance workers at Gatwick Airport have announced a fresh round of strikes in August.


Red Handling staff will walk out from 18-21 and 25-28 August. They areresponsible for ground handling for Norse Atlantic, Norwegian, Delta, TAP Air Portugal and Saudi.

216 flights could be disrupted or delayed, affecting approximately 45,000 passengers, according to union Unite.

Passenger assistance workers with Wilson James, meanwhile, will strike from 18-20 and 22-24 August.

Birmingham Airport strikes called off

A strike planned for 15 August at Birmingham Airport was called off at the final hour after plane refuellers accepted a pay deal.

Last month, security guards and technicians also called off strikes after a deal was reached.

Refuelling tanker drivers and operators, who refuel over three quarters of planes at the airport, were threatening “all out indefinite strike action” if a deal had not been reached. 

Rail strikes across the UK

Train drivers have announced a fresh overtime ban from 7 to 12 August in “action short of a strike”.

It will see Aslef union members at 15 train companies refuse to work overtime, which has previously led to schedule changes and reduced services. Hundreds of trains are likely to be cancelled each day with the industrial action affecting most of London’s commuter lines and major rail operators like Avanti West Coast, LNER and CrossCountry.

The London Underground and Elizabeth Line will remain unaffected. 

The UK’s biggest rail union, RMT and Aslef say that many train drivers have not had a pay rise in four years. They are demanding an increase in pay to account for the current high level of inflation. 

Italy: Strikes across public transport and airports in July

Transport strikes aren’t unusual in Italy during the summer. Industry regulations provide a summer exemption which means there will be no air transport strikes between 27 July and 5 September. 

For now, there is no other transport strike action planned in Italy but it is always worth checking before you travel. 

Belgium: Ryanair pilots warn of further strikes

Belgium-based Ryanair pilots will strike once again on 14 and 15 August.

Charleroi airport strikes at the end of July caused the cancellation of nearly 100 flights when two trade unions – CNE and ACV Puls – and the pilots’ union Beca walked out. 

The strike notice runs until October 2024 with CNE union members warning that industrial action is likely to continue.

“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 prior to the initial strike.

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

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. 

Spain: Airport security guards call off strike in Barcelona

Airport security staff at Barcelona-El Prat Airport have called off an indefinite strike that was due to start on 10 August. The walkout was averted after they reached an agreement on pay, gender equality and working conditions.

If you know of a big strike happening in your country that we have missed, we’d love to hear from you via Twitter.

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