Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Ryanair pilot strike affects 14,000 passengers on Spanish flights

Kenny Jacobs chief marketing officer of Ryanair during a news conference in Frankfurt Germany Kenny Jacobs chief marketing officer of Ryanair during a news conference in Frankfurt Germany
Ginger Lawrence | 10 August, 2018, 19:34

Tens of thousands of passengers have had their flights cancelled as Ryanair pilots across five European countries launched a mass walkout.

Pilots in France have not joined the strike, and most of the flights will directly affect passengers in Germany (accounting for around 42,000 of the 55,000 passengers expected to be affected). About 50,000 passengers are understood to have been told of cancellations on 400 flights.

Ryanair, which averted widespread strikes before Christmas by agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history, has been unable to quell rising protests since over slow progress in negotiating collective labour agreements. They even don't do a refund.

Aircrafts of low-priced airliner Ryanair are parked at the tarmac of Weeze airport near the German-Dutch border during a wider European strike of Ryanair airline crews to protest slow progress in negotiating a collective labour agreement at Weeze airport, Germany, August 10, 2018.

Last month cabin crew on Ryanair flights serving Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Italy downed tools.

Unions also want the airline to give contractors the same work conditions as staff employees.

The airline says 85 per cent of its Friday flights would operate and that affected customers would get email or text messages later on Wednesday.

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Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.

Ryanair's management claims to have offered a pay increase and to be open to further talks.

Ryanair has so far cancelled 20 Irish flights, 104 Belgian flights, 22 Swedish flights and 250 German flights scheduled for Friday so far.

A statement from CEO Michael O'Leary said: "Ryanair fully complies with all EU261 legislation, however as these flight cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances, no compensation is due". But it has also threatened to move part of its fleet to Poland, which could mean a loss of jobs.

Peter Scherrer, deputy secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation, said he welcomed today's cross-border show of unity by pilots.

'Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund or reroute options, ' the carrier said.

'We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling any more unjustified strikes'.