Strikes hit travel and tourism in Portugal

Almost 1,000 pilots at Portuguese carrier TAP walk out
After a day of intensive meetings, almost 1,000 pilots at Portugal’s national carrier TAP started a 10-day strike on Friday in a dispute over privatization. The strike is due to last until May 10.
That could hit up to 300,000 passengers on 3,000 flights, the airline said, and result in losses of at least €30 million. The country’s tourism industry has forecast losses of up to €28 million euros a day.
TAP is more than a billion euros in debt, posting an €81 million loss in 2014.
The pilots, represented by the Civil Aviation Pilots’ Union, want a stake of up to a 20% in the company, which is scheduled to be privatized later in the year. This would be part of a deal forged in 1999, which the pilots say the government is now ignoring. There is a May 15 deadline for bids to buy a majority stake in TAP. The union is also demanding long-service rewards for pilots.
On May 1, TAP said that 75% of its scheduled flights had operated during the first morning of the strike. It cancelled 38 of a total 156 scheduled flights by noon, a spokeswoman said. But a spokesman for the union said that participation in the strike would rise as the days progressed.
eTN / Reuters


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