Hundreds of Ryanair flights cancelled over European strikes
Hundreds of Ryanair flights cancelled over European strikes
Kenny Jacobs chief marketing officer of Ryanair during a news conference in Frankfurt Germany
11 August, 2018, 18:37
Hundreds of Ryanair flights - including at least 50 services into and out of Britain - will not take off as planned today due to pilot strikes in five countries.
The company says 85% of its scheduled flights will operate as normal on Saturday and the majority of customers affected have been given places on other Ryanair flights. But the figure could rise to 82 flights if routes between the Dutch city of Eindhoven and the Spanish cities of Reus and Valencia are finally canceled, after a court said on Thursday that Dutch pilots may join the walkout.
But Ryanair insisted in a statement that 'there will be no cancellations (of flights to and from the Netherlands) as a result of the unnecessary strike action by the Dutch pilot union'.
German pilot representatives said at a news conference Wednesday at Frankfurt's airport that they were joining the strike action because they want pay and work conditions comparable to those at Ryanair's competitors. Irish pilots recently staged four one-day walkouts, while cabin crew in Spain, Belgium, Italy and Portugal went on strike on July 25 and 26. The impact of the strike was limited with Ryanair apparently able to replace the striking Dutch pilots.
But pilots counter that Ryanair has refused to engage in meaningful dialogue about collective labour agreements since it began recognising unions in December 2017.
Customers were notified as early as possible and a majority of those affected had already been moved to another Ryanair flight, the airline added.
Ingolf Schumacher, pay negotiator at Germany's Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, said pilots had to be prepared for "a very long battle" and that it could take months to push through change at Europe's largest low-priced carrier.
The unions want the contracts of Ryanair employees to be governed by the laws of the nation where they are based, not by Irish legislation.
"It's annoying that it's happening in the summer holidays, but it's the only means they have".
At Charleroi Airport, Belgium's second largest and a major Ryanair hub in the region, striking staff gathered in the departure hall and held up banners reading "Ryanair must change- Respect us".
It has already threatened to move part of its Dublin fleet to Poland, which could cost 300 jobs, including 100 pilot positions.
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