Ryanair strike hits 55000 customers across Europe

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 10, 2018

In response to unions serving strike notices, Ryanair had announced the cancellations in recent days of 250 flights in and out of Germany, 104 to and from Belgium and another 42 in Sweden and its home market of Ireland, where around a quarter of its pilots were staging their fifth 24-hour walkout.

If the Dutch airport strike on Friday goes ahead, Dutch Ryanair pilots will join those in Germany, Ireland, Belgium and Sweden in striking all day.

That was because the strikes were hurting bookings, Ryanair said, and although it was too early to assess the impact elsewhere, it added that the action will hit average fares from having to move customers to flights it could otherwise have sold at a high last-minute price.

The airline said 396 flights have been cancelled as a result, forcing passengers who planned to travel on Friday to rebook or take different routes.

That topped the 300 flights a day it had to cancel last month when cabin crews in Belgium, Portugal and Spain escalated the staff revolt by going on strike for 48 hours.

The airline said that over 2,000 flights, or 85 percent of the schedule, would operate as normal and that the majority of passengers affected have been re-booked on other Ryanair services.

Ryanair, which flies in 37 countries and carried 130million people last year, averted widespread Christmas strikes last year by agreeing to recognise trade unions for the first time in its 33-year history.

Customers have been notified and a majority of those affected moved to another Ryanair flight, the company said. But since then it has struggled to reach agreements.

The unions want the contracts of Ryanair employees to be governed by the laws of the nation where they are based, not by Irish legislation.

But Ryanair insisted in a statement that 'there will be no cancellations (of flights to and from the Netherlands) as a result of the unnecessary strike action by the Dutch pilot union'.

At a Frankfurt press conference on Wednesday, Ryanair's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the company's German pilots enjoy "excellent working conditions".

Ryanair has repeatedly said it remained open to further talks with pilot representatives.

But chief executive Michael O'Leary has also warned the airline may shift jobs and planes to more profitable areas if the turmoil continues.

Unions have strongly condemned what they see as Ryanair's attempts to play countries off against each other.

Last night, Ryanair said "it took every step to minimise disruption" to passengers.

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