Ryanair says dis­rup­tions min­i­mal as pi­lots strike in 5 Euro­pean coun­tries

Penticton Herald - - TRAVEL - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

BER­LIN — Ryanair pi­lots in sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries on Fri­day staged a strike that prompted the bud­get car­rier to can­cel 400 flights.

A walk­out called by Ger­man union Cock­pit ac­counted for many of Fri­day's can­cel­la­tions.

Strikes were also called in Swe­den, Ire­land, Bel­gium and the Nether­lands.

The air­line said that over 2,000 flights, or 85 per cent of its sched­ule, would op­er­ate as nor­mal and that the ma­jor­ity of pas­sen­gers af­fected have been re-booked on other Ryanair ser­vices.

Ger­man pilot rep­re­sen­ta­tives said Wed­nes­day they were join­ing the strike ac­tion with a 24-hour walk­out, end­ing at 2.59 a.m. Satur­day, be­cause they want pay and work con­di­tions com­pa­ra­ble to those at Ryanair’s com­peti­tors.

The com­pany calls the strikes “re­gret­table and un­jus­ti­fied,” point­ing to re­cent pay in­creases and in­vi­ta­tions to meet for ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Ryanair built its low-cost busi­ness model without unions, but said last year it would rec­og­nize them.

Labour rep­re­sen­ta­tives are seek­ing col­lec­tive-bar­gain­ing agree­ments in the dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

The air­line has al­ready been hit with strikes by flight at­ten­dants in Spain, Por­tu­gal and Bel­gium. Ir­ish pi­lots have held four strike days.

In the Nether­lands, the car­rier was us­ing non-strik­ing pi­lots to keep its ser­vice run­ning for pas­sen­gers. In a tweet Thurs­day night, the com­pany said that “there will be no can­cel­la­tions as a re­sult of the un­nec­es­sary strike ac­tion by the Dutch pilot union.”

Ryanair launched un­suc­cess­ful le­gal ac­tion to pre­vent the strike in the Nether­lands.

In Swe­den, some 40 Ryanair pi­lots walked out.

Martin Lind­gren, head of the Swedish Air Line Pi­lots As­so­ci­a­tion, said that “a strike is nec­es­sary to show the air­line that it no longer can avoid treat­ing its em­ploy­ees in a dig­ni­fied man­ner.”

Ryanair called on the unions “to con­tinue ne­go­ti­a­tions in­stead of call­ing any more un­jus­ti­fied strikes.”

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