Ryanair faces fresh strike in Europe

29 September 2018 12:10 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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BRUSSELS (AFP) - Ryanair cancelled scores of European flights yesterday as unions staged what they warned could be the biggest strike in the airline’s history.
The Dublin-based carrier has played down fears of widespread disruption but confirmed it would cancel nearly 250 flights.


Walk-outs were planned by cabin crew in Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. In some countries, pilots’ unions also planned action.
At Charleroi Airport in Belgium, around 20 strikers unfurled a strike banner at the terminal and four of 12 scheduled services were cancelled. 


At Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands some passengers had already passed though security when a flight to London was cancelled with just half-an-hour until take-off, the Dutch news agency ANP reported.


The Dutch union VNV said it was seeking to take legal action to prevent Ryanair from bringing pilots in from abroad to replace striking Dutch crews. 


But the company insisted the vast majority of its 2,400 normally scheduled flights would be unaffected by what is called “these unnecessary strikes”.


“We find this strike... unreasonable and somewhat out of sync with the progress we thought we were having,” Ryanair COO Peter Bellew said in a conference call with journalists on Thursday.


Ryanair said in a statement that the vast majority of Friday’s 2,400 flights “will be unaffected by these unnecessary strikes and will operate as scheduled”.
Affected customers received email and text message notifications on Tuesday to advise them of cancellations and options, Ryanair said.


Trade unions hope that Friday’s 24-hour stoppage will be the biggest strike in the Irish carrier’s history.


“By not cancelling enough flights for tomorrow’s strike, Ryanair’s irresponsible behaviour could create tensions and insecurity for all airport staff, Ryanair and the passengers concerned,” the Belgian CNE union warned.


Ryanair staff have been seeking higher wages and an end to the practice whereby many have been working as independent contractors without the benefits of staff employees. 


Another key complaint of workers based in countries other than Ireland is the fact that Ryanair has been employing them under Irish legislation.


Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.


EU Social Affairs Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said on Wednesday air crew should be employed under contracts from the country where they work.
“Respecting EU law is not something over which workers should have to negotiate, nor is it something which can be done differently from country to country. I made this very clear to Mr O’Leary today,” Thyssen said in a statement after a meeting between Ryanair’s combative chief executive Michael O’Leary and EU officials.
“The internal market is not a jungle; it has clear rules on fair labour mobility and worker protection. This is not an academic debate, but about concrete social rights of workers.”


At a press conference, O’Leary called for cancellation of the strike, threatening that he would shrink Ryanair’s fleet at two Brussels airports if it went ahead. 


Last month, Ryanair pilots across Europe staged a coordinated 24-hour strike to push their demands for better pay and conditions, plunging tens of thousands of passengers into transport chaos at the peak of the busy summer season.


In July, strikes by cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.


This week, Ryanair signed deals with cabin crew unions in Italy to provide employment contracts under Italian law.


The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has called on Ryanair to compensate passengers affected by the strikes.

 

“We find this strike unreasonable and somewhat out of sync with the progress we thought we were having,” Ryanair COO Peter Bellew said in a conference call with journalists on Thursday.


Ryanair said in a statement that the vast majority of Friday’s 2,400 flights “will be unaffected by these unnecessary strikes and will operate as scheduled”.


Affected customers received email and text message notifications on Tuesday to advise them of cancellations and options, Ryanair said.


Trade unions hope that Friday’s 24-hour stoppage will be the biggest strike in the Irish carrier’s history.


“By not cancelling enough flights for tomorrow’s strike, Ryanair’s irresponsible behaviour could create tensions and insecurity for all airport staff, Ryanair and the passengers concerned,” the Belgian CNE union warned.


Ryanair staff have been seeking higher wages and an end to the practice whereby many have been working as independent contractors without the benefits of staff employees. 


Another key complaint of workers based in countries other than Ireland is the fact that Ryanair has been employing them under Irish legislation.


Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.


EU Social Affairs Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said on Wednesday air crew should be employed under contracts from the country where they work.
“Respecting EU law is not something over which workers should have to negotiate, nor is it something which can be done differently from country to country. I made this very clear to Mr O’Leary today,” Thyssen said in a statement after a meeting between Ryanair’s combative chief executive Michael O’Leary and EU officials.
“The internal market is not a jungle; it has clear rules on fair labour mobility and worker protection. This is not an academic debate, but about concrete social rights of workers.”


At a press conference, O’Leary called for cancellation of the strike, threatening that he would shrink Ryanair’s fleet at two Brussels airports if it went ahead. 
Last month, Ryanair pilots across Europe staged a coordinated 24-hour strike to push their demands for better pay and conditions, plunging tens of thousands of passengers into transport chaos at the peak of the busy summer season.


In July, strikes by cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.


This week, Ryanair signed deals with cabin crew unions in Italy to provide employment contracts under Italian law.


The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has called on Ryanair to compensate passengers affected by the strikes.

 

 

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