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Everywhere in Europe that travel strikes are planned in December

Travel is set to be heavily impacted by industrial action during the busy festive period this year.

Rail and aviation unions are threatening strikes throughout December and January across Europe. It’s likely to cause disruption as people attempt to get home for the holidays.

So where are strikes taking place in Europe this Christmas?

International rail services: Eurostar strikes over Christmas

More than 100 Eurostar security staff are set to strike in the run up to Christmas. They will walk out on 16, 18, 22 and 23 December with the RMT union saying industrial action will “severely affect” trains.

Eurostar and Mitie, the company that employs the security staff, says it will update passengers with any impact to services.

What strikes are happening in Belgium this Christmas?

ACV Puls and CNE unions have told budget airline Ryanair that “staff will express their anger” over the festive season if their demands over the treatment of workers aren’t met.

They are considering strike action over Christmas after the budget airline closed its base of operations in the country, forcing staff to work elsewhere in Europe. Exact strike dates have not been confirmed yet.

What strikes are happening in France this Christmas?

Unions in France have called a running strike from 2 to 4 December. It is expected to cause major disruption for the nation’s rail network.

Just four in 10 trains will run on high-speed TGV and Intercités lines but local services won’t be affected.

Though timetables will theoretically return to normal on Monday, there are likely to be some lingering effects of the strikes.

International services will also be affected with only one in three TGVs to Switzerland, one in two to Germany and one in three to Italy running. There will be no services to Spain during the strike.

Union leaders have also filed strike notices for the Christmas and New Year’s weekends although there is no confirmation yet as to whether this action will take place.

Unions in France are also threatening budget airline easyJet with action over the Christmas period. The SNPNC-FO union, which represents hostesses and stewards, has warned there is a “very significant risk” of strikes although there are no confirmed dates yet.

What strikes are happening in Portugal this Christmas?

On 8 and 9 December, cabin crew for TAP Air will strike over wage cuts, staff shortages and poor working conditions. 

The airline has already announced the cancellation of 360 flights and the walkout is likely to affect around 50,000 passengers across Portugal.

What strikes are happening in Spain this Christmas?

Union members from Ryanair cabin crew based in Spain have been on strike for five months.

The action started on 8 August and will run until 7 January, from Monday to Thursday every week. It’s likely to affect journeys from airports including Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga.

But Ryanair has said it doesn’t expect that the strike will cause that much disruption for passengers.

What strikes are happening in the UK this Christmas?

Rail strikes are taking place in the UK throughout December and into January. The Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) announced that its 40,000 members will walk out for eight days during the festive season.

The dates of the strike will be 13-14 and 16-17 December as well as the 3-4 and 6-7 January. Nearly every train operator will be impacted as RMT members at National Rail and 13 companies go on strike.

Just one in five trains is expected to run on strike days and on the days either side – known as ‘shoulder days’ – services will run at around 60 per cent of normal.

It’s likely that timetables will be adjusted to cope with the walkout so make sure to check if your train is still running before you travel.

Hundreds of baggage handlers at Heathrow Airport are also walking out over the Christmas period. They are on strike for 72 hours from 4am on 16 December.

The Unite union expects that it will cause some disruption for passengers in the run-up to the busy festive period.

Members of Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, which represents Passport Office and Border Force staff, have also voted for a strike over Christmas. It is yet to confirm dates but this action could lead to queues at airports and ports.

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