Pilot strikes see hundreds of Ryanair flights cancelled

Marco Green
August 10, 2018

Hundreds of Ryanair flights will not take off as planned on Friday due to pilot strikes in five countries.

At least 400 Ryanair flights have been cancelled as a result, which has forced passengers who planned on travelling today to rebook or take different routes.

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 is facing a rising tide of protests from unions frustrated at the slow progress being made in negotiations over collective labour agreements.

It already suffered a round of strikes by cockpit and cabin crew last month that disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.

The Dutch pilots union VNV said it was the first time in Europe that an airline had gone to court to prevent industrial action, the Financieele Dagblad reported.

Unions have strongly condemned what they see as Ryanair's attempts to play countries off against each other.

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.

The country's powerful Cockpit union said it had called on Ryanair's roughly 480 Germany-based pilots to walk out from 3.01am (2.01am Irish time) until 2.59am (1.59am Irish time) on Saturday.

That was because the strikes were hurting bookings, Ryanair said, and although it was too early to assess the impact elsewhere, it added that the action will hit average fares from having to move customers to flights it could otherwise have sold at a high last-minute price.

In a statement, the union said the European pilot strike should be a "wake-up call" for Ryanair management and claimed the legal threat made its decision "easier". In a statement, it claimed all flights scheduled to depart from German airports would be affected.

The airline operates more than 2,000 flights a day, serving 223 airports across 37 countries in Europe and North Africa. "Passengers may wish to contact Ryanair directly regarding their scheduled flights as only the company itself can tell which flights are going to operate". He said Ryanair categorically ruled out any such increases at talks.

It has already threatened to move part of its Dublin fleet to Poland, which could cost 300 jobs, including 100 pilot positions.

Peter Scherrer, deputy secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation, said he welcomed today's cross-border show of unity by pilots.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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