Spanish Embassy Staff In UK Go On Strike

Spanish Embassy Staff In UK Go On Strike

Spanish Embassy staff in the UK went on indefinite strike over pay and work conditions. It's not the first time Spanish consular staff in the UK go on strike over their pay. 

The three Spanish Consulates in the UK (Edinburgh, London, and Manchester), as well as the Embassy in London, are currently operating on a “reduced staff”.

“It is possible that the provision of services by the Consulates will be affected, especially in London,” Spain’s Foreign Ministry stated.

The Embassy and Consulates are responsible for issuing Spanish passports, offering assistance to Spanish nationals, processing visas for British citizens and residents who want to move to Spain and more. 

This means that British citizens and residents in the UK might be affected when applying for a visa to travel to Spain.

After Brexit, a visa is required to enter Spain for any citizen of a country not part of the European Union. British citizens who wish to stay in Spain longer than 90 days in a 180-day period would need a visa. 

International students and foreign workers in the UK who need a Schengen visa to visit Spain are also greatly affected.

Spanish nationals who need to renew their passport and other assistance from the embassy will also feel the brunt of reduced staff. More than 200,000 Spanish nationals are residents in the United Kingdom. 

Those who have a scheduled Schengen visa appointment in London for the later of the month should check their inbox to check the status of their appointment as it would likely be cancelled.

Demand For Salary Update and Better Working Conditions

The strike group is demanding a salary update after thirteen years of reported wage freezes, equal pay for all workers in the same administrative category and the option of contributing to Spain’s social security system rather than the UK’s, which since Brexit offers higher benefits than the British system.

According to La Región Internacional, a publication aimed at Spaniards abroad, the strike has the support of the majority of the embassy and consular workers and follows months of negotiations during which the demands of the group haven’t been met.

In 2021, Spain went for six months without having an Ambassador in the United Kingdom and there have been ongoing complaints for the past years about long queues, poor service and lengthy processing times, all of which have worsened as a result of Covid-19 and Brexit.

The Spanish Embassy in Berlin has also joined the indefinite strike actions. German citizens do not need a visa to enter Spain however the strike would likely cause other issues.

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