Ryanair Cancels 600 Flights In Cabin Crew's Most Succesful Strike
The Irish airline, Europe's largest by passenger numbers, said in a statement it expected disruption to the travel plans of almost 50,000 customers as it would cancel up to 300 flights per day. The cancellations amount to 12 percent of its flights.
In the company's largest previous industrial action, Ryanair canceled 30 flights on July 12 when some pilots in Ireland held their first strike. Ryanair said it will cancel 24 flights on Friday during the second of three strikes planned by the pilots.
The most affected country is Spain, with about 400 flights cancelled. The Spanish government is struggling to reach an agreement with Ryanair, as the 1,800 cabin crew members are hired under Irish laws.
Ryanair notified customers via email and text message seven days in advance, offering them the possibility of flying before or after the aforementioned dates or even getting a full refund.
The Spanish government has said the cancellation of the flights is legal, but that it will ask the airline for detailed information regarding the flights so customers can take an informed decision in advance.
The airline has not provided a complete, detailed list of the cancelled flights so far, but it has declared that any customer flying in or out of Belgium, Portugal or Spain that have not received an email or text message by Wednesday will be able to fly on aschedule.
Cabin crew from across Europe earlier this month published a list of 34 demands on July 4, including "a fair living wage," improved sick pay and employment contracts in their own language, based on local rather than Irish law.
"These strikes are entirely unjustified and will achieve nothing other than to disrupt family holidays," the airline said in a statement.
Ryanair, which published a list of cabin crew benefits on Twitter on Wednesday, including pay of up to 40,000 euros per year, said its staff has some of the best conditions in Europe's low-cost airline sector.
"We think our crew are well paid and we think their terms and conditions are good," Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs told Reuters. "But we will sit and meet with them see what issues they have and consider them. We will keep an open mind."
The airline will consider issues including demands for local contracts by some staff, but the airline needs to maintain its "low-cost, high-efficiency" model, he said.
Last December, Ryanair recognized trade unions for the first time in its 32-year history but has since then struggled to reach agreements on the terms of the recognition with some unions and has faced several threats of strike action in different European countries.
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