Thankfully, the union members have done us the favour of announcing more or less when they’ll be striking, making planning around it much easier.

In Brussels, the Union Syndicale Bruxelles (USB), which represents EU civil servants, has negotiated a deal with Eurocontrol, the EU’s traffic control manager, to avoid weeks of strikes. Staff at the institution had threatened industrial action which could start with just 5 days of notice anytime over the next half a year. USB members, which had threatened the strikes over a 25% staff shortage, management behaviour and an imposed roster system, will put the deal to a vote which, if successful, will see the withdrawal of the strike threat.

Meanwhile, in France, strikes and demonstrations have been rife since the year’s beginning after President Emmanuel Macron pushed a raise in the retirement age from 62 to 64 through to legislation without a parliamentary vote. The strikes have slowed down recently, but still pose a significant issue for air traffic controllers as thousands of flights have to be diverted away from French airspace.

The Paris Metro may also see strikes soon, as the city’s public transport workers union, FO-RATP, have threatened to walk out after station staff were not offered additional pay for time worked during the Rugby World Cup, which is held in the Stade de France from September 8th to October 28th. Negotiations between the parties are currently being held.

UK travel

As far as the UK goes, security staff at London Heathrow Airport have accepted a pay offer and have called off the 2000-staff-strong 31-day strike planned for August, while plane refuellers at Birmingham Airport have cancelled their own strike after the employees of Menzies Aviation accepted a pay deal. Passenger assistance workers at Wilson James, in Gatwick, were also going to go on strike this month, scheduled for August 18-20th and 22-24th, but it’s been suspended while they vote on a “greatly improved” pay offer, according to union Unite. However, one Gatwick Airport strike is going ahead: Red Handling staff will walk out August 18-21st and 25-28th, affecting 216 flights carrying circa 45 thousand passengers flying with Norse Atlantic, Norwegian, Delta, TAP, and Saudia.

Also in the UK, the country’s largest rail union, RMT, has announced strikes on August 26th and September 2nd, both Saturdays, over pay, working conditions and job security.

The safest Western European country to make travel plans for maybe Italy, who currently does not have any public transport strikes scheduled, and has a ban on air travel strikes between July 27th and September 5th.


Star in the 2015 music video for the hit single “Headlights” by German musician, DJ and record producer Robin Schulz featuring American singer-songwriter Ilsey. Also a journalist.

Jay Bodsworth