RYANAIR CABIN CREW TO STRIKE
Staff in Spain and three other countries will strike on July 25 and 26
RYANAIR passengers' worst fears were confirmed yesterday (Thursday) as unions representing cabin crew announced strikes in Spain, Belgium, Italy and France have been called on July 25 and 26.
Cabin crew say their demands have been ignored by the low-cost airline leaving them with industrial action as the only way to force Ryanair management to acknowledge their unions and demands, that include improving econ- omic and safety conditions and rostering and workplace culture, reducing agency employment and giving staff the right to sick pay.
But a key demand is that employment contracts explicitly recognise national law and jurisdiction in the country a worker is based.
Strikes will have a direct impact on around 115,000 passengers daily in Spain - and will jeopardise thousands of summer holiday plans.
The strikes in individual countries were called after a Europewide strike was discarded on Wednesday due to different strike legislations applied in each country; hence, strikes have been called by the individual unions in each country, namely: Sitcpla (Spain) Snpvac (Portugal), Uiltrasport (Italy) and Cner-Lbc (Belgium).
Ryanair cabin crew are backed by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
An ITF representative said it was up to individual unions in each country to act if the demands were not met.
If the majority of cabin crew join the industrial action, the effect at airports throughout Europe could be chaotic - as the airline operates 2,000 flights to 37 countries daily.
According to its website, Ryanair has flights from Alicante to 60 different airports - 17 in the UK.
The airline employs, directly or via employment agencies, 1,700 cabin crew staff and 700 pilots in Spain - making it the second country with the largest number of Ryanair staff.
The strike threat was first made in April and Ryanair bosses were given a June 30 deadline to sit down and discuss the issues - unions says their demands have been ignored.
Ryanair has regarded the demands as 'pointless', listing benefits it said crew already enjoyed. A company spokesperson said, “Ryanair is already engaged in extensive negotiations with national cabin crew unions across Europe during which all of these, and other issues, are being negotiated and we have already concluded agreements in the UK and Italy”.
On Monday, Ryanair pilots employed directly by the company in Dublin (100 out of the 300 based in the Irish capital, the majority being captains) voted in favour of walkout on July 12.
The action will mainly affect flights to and from Irish airports, but a knock-on effect could see delays in other flights.
ATC strike averted
Widespread airport chaos in Spain had been averted earlier in the week after air traffic control company Enaire and unions signed an agreement that defused the strike threat made last week.
The deal to increase staff levels by 21% until 2025 has to be ratified by the government (in charge of Enaire) and unions, but it ensure a calm summer as far as Spanish air traffic control goes.