Ryanair faces widening strike action

Ryanair is facing more strike action, flight cancellations and compensation claims as German pilots confirmed they would join 24-hours of industrial action on Friday, adding to other strikes planned in Ireland, Sweden and Belgium.

The planned industrial action, at the height of the holiday season, has already seen Europe’s biggest low-fare airline by passenger numbers cancel 146 flights originally scheduled for Friday.

The German action will see a further 250 flight cancellations, taking the grand total so far to just under 400 – around 17% of the approximate 2,400 flights it has scheduled across Europe that day. Up to 25,000 passengers could be affected by the cancellations. Dutch pilot union VNV is also considering calling for strikes on Friday but has not yet decided.

The walkout by pilots based in Germany will start at 0301 GMT on Friday, according to the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

Last year the Irish carrier agreed to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history, but it faces growing protests from unions which claim frustration at what they see as slow progress in negotiations over collective labour agreements.

Ryanair stated via Twitter: “Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union in Germany have today called an unnecessary strike next Friday (10 Aug) and we have regrettably been forced to cancel 250 flights to/from Germany. We apologise to our customers for the disruption.” The ongoing row with Irish pilots has already seen the airline propose that a third-party mediator join the talks.

Its flight operations are scheduled to resume normal services on Saturday 11 August.

Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: “We regret the decision of the VC to go ahead with this unnecessary strike action given that we sent through a revised proposal on a Collective Labour Agreement (on Fri 3 Aug) and stated our intention to work towards achieving a CLA together. We also invited VC to meet us on Tuesday (7 Aug) but they did not respond to this invitation.

“Our pilots in Germany enjoy excellent working conditions. They are paid up to €190,000 per year and, as well as additional benefits, they received a 20% pay increase at the start of this year. Ryanair pilots earn at least 30% more than Eurowings and 20% more than Norwegian pilots. We asked VC to provide us with at least seven days’ notice of any planned strike action so that we could notify our customers of cancelled flights in advance and offer them alternative flights or refunds, but they have refused to do this and instead call an unnecessary strike in Germany in just two days’ time.”

He added that the airline “again call on the VC to remove the threat of an unjustified and unnecessary strike, to commit to providing reasonable (seven days) notice of strike action and to accept our invitations to meet for meaningful negotiations on a CLA for our German pilots and minimise disruption to German customers.”


Written by: Mark Thomas

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