Ryanair crew in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium to strike
Series of strikes set for July as crew demands access to unpaid leave, fair living wage
Ryanair flight attendants said they plan to follow pilots in staging walkouts over the coming weeks.
A list of demands agreed by crews at a meeting in Dublin on Wednesday includes access to unpaid leave, a “fair living wage,” moves toward abolishing agency hiring, the recognition of national law in employment contracts, fair universal pensions, and an end to charges for food, water and uniforms.
The airline said it’s in “extensive negotiations” with cabin crew unions. An emailed statement called the demands “pointless” because crew already earn up to €40,000 per year, get free training, sick pay and a uniform allowance and receive paid and unpaid leave.
Strike decisions have to be made by individual unions at a national level, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation, which coordinated the meeting of workers stationed at most of Ryanair’s 86 bases across Europe.
The region’s biggest low-cost carrier is already facings a pilot walkout in Ireland next week as it grapples with the terms of labour agreements following a decision to accept unionisation in the face of a staffing crunch.
Ryanair employees complained about a range of issues at the two-day Dublin summit, including a requirement to open an Irish bank account to be paid, a pushy onboard retail policy toward snacks and scratchcards that turns crews into “sales staff”, and a sick-leave policy that requires people to turn up at the airport to explain their symptoms. Ground staff are also seeking permanent deals, shorter hours and conditions in line with sector norms.
ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez said workers would take the charter back to their own unions and plan further action accordingly.
The emerging threat of walkouts by flight attendants comes a day after the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association said cockpit crew in Ryanair’s home market plan to strike for 24 hours on July 12th following a 94 to 1 vote in favor of industrial action. The union warned of additional walkouts “in due course,” while adding that it’s open to talks.
Dublin is the carrier’s biggest base after London Stansted, with Ireland accounting for about 7 per cent of flights.
Ryanair said in a notice to customers on its website that it was “disappointed” with the Irish strike call, which concerns holiday leave and the carrier’s approach to transferring pilots between European bases. It said it had already submitted draft proposals addressing IALPA’s concerns, and attempted to meet the union on 19 separate occasions.
Germany’s Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union is also balloting members who fly with Ryanair in a dispute over pay and working conditions, with the outcome due later this month. – Bloomberg, Reuters