INDUSTRIAL ACTION

Ryanair told to operate all Spanish island flights during Friday strike

Government officials set minimum services for the low-cost airline, which has been forced to cancel 150 flights

Ryanair plane in Belgium.
Ryanair plane in Belgium.Yves Herman / REUTERS

Irish airline Ryanair has said that 150 of 2,400 flights are being cancelled this coming Friday due to a cabin crew strike planned in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. All affected customers have received three day’s notice of the cancellations, the company announced via Twitter.

Flights to and from the Balearic and Canary Islands will not be affected by the strike

In Spain, the Public Works Ministry has set the minimum services that Ryanair must provide on September 28, after talks between management and unions failed to convince workers to call off the strike.

Under the established minimum services, the low-cost airline must operate all domestic flights between the peninsula and the Balearic and Canary islands.

Ryanair must also provide 35% of flights within the peninsula where the alternative overland route is less than five hours, and 59% of flights where the overland alternative is longer than five hours. Ryanair must also maintain 59% of its international flights.

The ministry’s decision on minimum services is the same as in July, when Ryanair walkouts grounded hundreds of flights, affecting more than 100,000 passengers.

Unions have described the minimum services as “abusive”

The unions behind the strike had asked the ministry to impose less “abusive” minimum services this time. But officials stuck to their figures, and said Ryanair “must adopt the necessary measures” to guarantee essential services, including sufficient staff to “safeguard” the security and rights of passengers.

Around 1,800 Ryanair workers are set to go on strike in Spain on Friday, in what unions have warned will the “the biggest strike ever seen by Ryanair.” Friday’s walkout follows an earlier pan-European strike that took place on July 25 and 26. Pilots also walked out in several countries on August 10, leading to the cancellation of nearly 400 flights.

Unions have called the strike to protest against the company’s policy of putting all its workers on Irish labor contracts rather than adhering to local legislation. Representatives say they have “not ruled out” holding a strike every month until Ryanair accepts their demands, which received the backing of the European Commission last week.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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