STRIKE ACTION: All customers affected by cancelled flights at Ryanair have been notified by email and SMS since Tuesday
Low-cost airline Ryanair promised to fly most of its flights on Friday, despite a call for a strike in several European countries by cabin crew and pilots demanding better working conditions.
The Irish carrier plans to cancel 250 of the 2,400 flights scheduled in Europe, saying the majority of its employees will work normally. The carrier states that all affected customers have been notified by email and SMS since Tuesday.
Ryanair adopts irresponsible behaviour
“We find this strike unreasonable and somewhat out of sync with the progress we thought we had made,” said Peter Bellew, Ryanair’s chief operating officer. “By not canceling enough flights for the strike, Ryanair is behaving in an irresponsible manner that could create tension and insecurity for all staff at the airport, Ryanair and the passengers involved,” the union warned. Belgian CNE, affiliated to the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions.
The call to strike concerns aircrew in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany, joined by pilots in some of these countries. The unions are calling for better working conditions and the employment of each employee through a contract in his country of residence, contrary to Ryanair’s historical practice of employing a large part of its workforce through contracts under Irish law.
Ryanair called to order by European Commissioner for Social Affairs
European Commissioner for Social Affairs Marianne Thyssen spoke on Wednesday to call Ryanair to order after meeting with company CEO Michael O’Leary. “Respect for Community law is not something that workers should have to negotiate, nor something that can be done differently from one country to another,” she warned. “The internal market is not a jungle: it has clear rules on the fair mobility of labor and the protection of workers,” added the Belgian commissioner.
For the European Commission, “it is not the flag of the airplane that determines the applicable law. This is the place where workers leave in the morning and come back at night, without the employer having to cover the costs.
“We agree to negotiate and there is still a strike”
Michael O’Leary called for “cancelling the strike” at a press conference Wednesday in Diegem, near Brussels-Zaventem airport, according to reports reported by the agency Belga. “We agree to negotiate and there is still a strike,” he argued, before launching: “Cancel this strike that is not supported by the vast majority of workers Ryanair! ”
Friday’s strike marks the continuation of a social movement that has already hit the airline this summer with two large movements coordinated in several European countries: cabin crew at the end of July (600 canceled flights and 100,000 passengers affected) and the pilots in the heart of August (400 canceled flights and 55,000 passengers affected).
Ryanair had also cancelled 150 flights to Germany on 12 September due to a strike by pilots and staff. The Irish company has 86 bases in Europe, according to its website, which allows it to park its planes and to domicile its staff. She announced on Thursday the opening of two new bases in France, Bordeaux and Marseille , where she has not present since 2011.