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The Spanish Council of Ministers will meet this Wednesday afternoon to "accelerate the process" of carrying out the obligatory arbitration after workers from Eulen, the security contractors at Barcelona-El Prat airport, rejected the mediation proposal and decided to go ahead with the indefinite strike.

The announcement was made this Monday by the Interior Minister, Íñigo de la Serna, at the Spanish government's delegation in Catalonia after holding a meeting of the monitoring commission created for the strike by Eulen's workers which has caused long queues at the security gates in recent days. Also at the meeting were the Catalan minister for Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull and the deputy mayor Jaume Collboni.

In a press conference afterwards, De la Serna announced the Spanish government's wish to "accelerate the process" to finalise an obligatory arbitration, a ruling that must be followed which would set the work conditions. For this specifically, an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers will be held in the afternoon on the 16th of this month, in which the ministers will evaluate the reports from the state Legal Service and will start the process of choosing an arbitrator to determine the solution to bring an end to the dispute at the airport.

The role of the Civil Guard

The minister also recognised the presence of the Civil Guard at security checks, which has allowed the first day of the total strike to pass without long queues. De la Serna said that the presence of the police, about twenty in total, has led to the avoidance of security problems and "has been carried out with scrupulous respect of the right to strike".

Also positive about the presence of the Civil Guard was minister Rull, who praised the lack of collapse in the queues for security and that the reinforcement by police from the Civil Guard "has worked". For their part, the Catalan government also increased the number of their Mossos d'Esquadra police in the "area of their jurisdiction to guarantee security and to help airport users so that this strike has the minimum possible impact".

"We will have the possibility to see where there have been errors in the management of the airport and we will have to carry out a serious study, but the most important for now was to take decisions together to solve the problem," concluded Rull. After the creation of the Crisis Committee last Friday, the verbal escalation between Spain and Catalonia on the issue has notably reduced.

"I want to thank the meeting because it demonstrated the institutional normality that there has to be in times of difficulties and crisis", said the second deputy mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni. However, as the representative of Barcelona City Council to the meeting, he highlighted that the reaction to the problem "has been too late" in appearing and highlighted that it is necessary to have a deep discussion about the reinvestment of the profits generated by the airport "in infrastructure and security".

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