Ryanair braces for biggest ever one-day strike

Alicia Cross
August 12, 2018

Ryanair staff pilots in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium were set to strike today for 24 hours, resulting in hundreds of the airline's flights being cancelled, including 20 to and from Ireland.

Pilots based in Germany who work for airline Ryanair and are members of the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) trade union are on strike today (Friday 10 August 2018) in a dispute over the creation of a collective wage agreement and a general agreement around terms and conditions, including working schedules.

Ryanair pilots in Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands went on strike on Friday in the biggest one-day strike Europe's largest low-priced carrier has faced.

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.

Ryanair sought an urgent court order in the Netherlands to prevent pilots from joining the strike, but the Dutch airline pilots' union told judges only a small number of flights from Dutch airports could potentially be affected.

The Irish airline, Europe's largest low-priced carrier, averted widespread strikes before Christmas by agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history.

Ryanair has slammed the stoppages as "unnecessary" but pilots counter that the carrier has refused to engage in meaningful dialogue about collective labour agreements since it began recognising unions in December 2017.

Belgian consumer protection group Test Achats meanwhile announced it was taking Ryanair to the European Court of Justice to demand compensation for affected passengers.

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Ryanair said it took every step to minimise the disruption to passengers and customers were notified as early as possible.

Some 300 Ryanair flights were cancelled in July when cabin crews in Belgium, Portugal and Spain went on strike for 48 hours.

Ryanair employees are on strike in Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands, forcing the firm to cancel 394 flights.

One of the key areas of contention is contract law, pilots want their employment contracts to be in the country they are based and work in rather than being forced to work under Irish terms.

"We want better pay and working conditions", Martin Locher, president of VC, said, adding that there could be no improvement for the staff otherwise.

The German strike announcement had been widely expected and investors appeared sanguine about the upcoming disruptions, sending Ryanair shares climbing 1.2 percent in London. Friday's coordinated strikes by pilots in four countries is the most serious escalation so far.

Jacobs said the airline is ready to continue negotiations and called on the union to remove the threat of strikes.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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