Ryanair cabin crew members from five European countries will go on strike later this month, threatening hundreds of flights in what could be the airline’s biggest walkout.
A Belgian union official confirmed that staff from Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Portugal will stage a stoppage on the Irish no-frills airline on September 28.
Several European labour unions met in Brussels for talks today before confirming the 24-hour walkout.
Cabin crew members from the no-frills airline Ryanair from five European countries will go on strike on September 28
‘Unfortunately, discussions continue without results,’ CNE delegate Yves Lambot told AFP at the meeting, describing negotiations with Ryanair management.
Ryanair workers – pilots, ground staff and cabin crew – are demanding improved working conditions and want their contracts to be based on the law in their country of residence rather than Ireland.
‘They have promised to change our contracts into national contracts by 2022. This is too late for us. We want 2019,’ Mr Lambot said.
Shortly before the announcement in Brussels, Ryanair insisted that the strike would fail in its attempt to cause ‘travel chaos’.
In a statement, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: ‘Repeated false claims made by these unions about “travel chaos” have proven to be unfounded.
‘While we regret the limited strike actions that have taken place this summer, in all cases we have judiciously pre-cancelled a small number of our 2,500 daily flights in order to minimise customer disruption and inconvenience.
‘If there is a further unsuccessful cabin crew strike on the September 28 next then, as we demonstrated in Germany yesterday, Ryanair will pre-advise customers of a small number of flight cancellations.
Ryanair suffered a 24-hour cabin crew and pilot strike in Germany prompting the cancellation of 150 out of 400 flights. Pictured is a picket line at Frankfurt Airport yesterday
‘The overwhelming majority of Ryanair’s flights and services that day will operate as normal, and we will carry the overwhelming majority of the 400,000 passengers who will be scheduled to fly with us that day.’
The September 28 strike will be the biggest strike in the company’s history, according to the unions.
It comes after a strike in five countries in August, which forced the cancellation of 400 flights in the middle of the holiday period, affecting 55,000 passengers.
On Wednesday, the company suffered a 24-hour cabin crew and pilot strike in Germany prompting the cancellation of 150 out of 400 flights.
But Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary described it as a ‘failure’.
Speaking on Wednesday, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary described the strike in Germany as a ‘failure’
‘We are not easyJet, we will not roll over every time we are threatened with a strike,’ O’Leary told reporters in London, mocking a rival low-cost carrier.
The no-frills airline boasts lower costs per passenger than its competitors and is eyeing profits of around 1.25 billion euros ($1.45 billion) this year.
But staff have long complained that they earn less than counterparts at rival airlines.
Unions also want the airline to give contractors the same work conditions as staff employees.
Ryanair counters that it has already offered significant pay increases and steadier contracts.
It also revealed that German pilots can make ‘up to 190,000 euros a year’.