LOW-COST AIRLINES

Ryanair crew announce July strikes in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium

Unions are calling on the Irish low-cost airline to respect the labor rights of its staff in each country it flies to, rather than applying Irish law

Ryanair is in conflict with pilots and cabin crew over pay and conditions.
Ryanair is in conflict with pilots and cabin crew over pay and conditions.REUTERS

Unions representing cabin crew for Irish airline Ryanair announced on Thursday that they are calling strikes for July 25 and 26 in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium. The workers are calling on the low-cost carrier to respect labor rights in each country in which it operates, and to recognize the representatives chosen by each organization to negotiate a collective agreement. In effect, the unions are calling on Ryanair to stop applying Irish labor law to all its employees, and adapt its working conditions to the legal framework of each of its destination countries.

The stoppages announced today are in addition to the 24-hour strike that has already been called by a group of the airline’s Irish pilots for July 12. What’s more, in May of this year cabin crew unions representing Ryanair staff threatened a major series of strikes over the summer.

The stoppages announced today are in addition to the 24-hour strike that has already been called by a group of the airline’s Irish pilots for July 12

Union representatives stated in May that, despite the fact that the majority of the airline’s cabin crew is hired through temping agencies, the company is trying to leave these workers out of any negotiations on working conditions, “which constitutes clear discrimination toward workers who are doing the same job in the same planes and on the same flights as those hired by the actual company, but with worse conditions,” said Ernesto Iglesias, from the USO Sector Aéreo union, at the time. Under Spanish law, all workers hired via a temping agency must have the same working conditions as those hired directly by a company.

Union representatives have for some time now denounced the fact that negotiations with cabin crew are at an impasse, despite the company’s claims when it announced its most recent annual results that there has been considerable progress. The SITCPLA union, which represents the majority of the cabin crew in question, has also complained about the fact that Ryanair sends interlocutors to negotiations who admit that the union demands are legitimate, but then do not recognize any of these demands later in writing. As such, union sources stated in May, “these negotiations are absurd.”

Ryanair is currently in conflict with more of its staff. The Spanish pilots union SEPLA continues to be at war with the airline, and is threatening to take it to court. Ground staff, meanwhile, who are subcontracted via the handling company LESMA, are calling for better conditions for 4,000 employees, with a salary increase of 3% and a collective agreement.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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