Ryanair strikes: Airline cancels 150 flights | News | DW | 26.09.2018
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Ryanair strikes: Airline cancels 150 flights

Some 30,000 European passengers will be impacted by Ryanair pilot and cabin crew strikes on Friday. The German pilots' union said it will participate in the walkout with 1,000 German cabin crew members set to join them.

Ryanair will cancel 150 flights scheduled Friday due to cabin crew strikes across Europe, the budget airline said Wednesday.

The Ireland-based carrier said about 8 percent of its 2,400 daily flights would be scrapped due to 24-hour walkouts in Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium over pay and conditions.

In Germany, the pilots' union "Vereinigung Cockpit" announced it would participate in the walkouts. The Verdi union, which represents about 1,000 cabin crew, said it would hold rallies in Berlin and Frankfurt on Friday.

Verdi officials said discussions about whether to participate in a walkout on Friday were continuing and a final decision would be made by Thursday evening.

The planned walkouts coincide with the beginning of the autumn school break in several German states.

"The previous offers of #Ryanair are not enough!" Verdi wrote on Twitter. "Therefore #verdi calls for rallies in Berlin-Schönefeld and Frankfurt on Friday."

Some 30,000 passengers will be affected by the strike on Friday. Ryanair has described workers' action as "unnecessary," pointing to "significant progress in recent weeks with our union negotiations ... in Ireland, UK, Italy and Germany," the airline said in a statement on Tuesday.

Read more: To fly or not to fly? The environmental cost of air travel

The airline had previously said 190 flights would be impacted by the strikes and all affected customers had been given three days notice of the cancellations.

Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair's chief marketing officer, said the airline apologized for the strikes, "which we have done our utmost to avoid, given that we have already offered these unions recognition agreements, Collective Labour Agreements, and a move to local contracts/law in 2019."

"We hope these unions will see common sense and work with us to finalize agreements for the benefit of our pilots and cabin crew over the coming weeks without further disrupting our customers or our flights," Jacobs said.

Staff at Ryanair have long been in conflict with the company over its practice of hiring under Irish labor law. 

On Wednesday, Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary met with EU Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen about labor conditions at the low-cost airline. 

Thyssen called upon O'Leary to "ensure full compliance with all applicable EU rules and legislation, as it is the case for all EU airline companies," commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said. 

"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.

"I am not against Ryanair or against the low-cost business model. But with great success also comes great responsibility," she added. 

New contract for Italy crew

Earlier Tuesday, Ryanair also announced it had signed a new contract with its cabin crew in Italy, which would begin on October 1 and run for three years.

The Dublin-based airline agreed to the terms of the contract in mid-September with the FIT CISL, ANPAC and ANPAV unions, and it includes an increase in wages under a new compensation structure.

But other Italian trade unions that did not participate in the negotiations have criticized the contract and called for an emergency meeting with Labor Minister Luigi Di Maio.

Ryanair said in July that it planned to have annual passenger growth of 7 percent to reach 139 million passengers in the year to March 2019, and another 9 percent growth to 152 million by March 2020.

Strikes by Ryanair pilots and cabin crew across Europe resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights this summer.

dm, law/ng AFP, dpa, Reuters)
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