As Soltalk went to press, plans were still in place for a strike by Ryanair cabin crew in Spain on September 28. The airline was promising no “general travel disruption” and “no airline chaos,” as its summer of on-going staff protests continued.
According to the Spanish employees’ unions, USO and SITCPLA, its members were expected to be supported by similar action in Portugal, Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands, and they say further strikes will be called unless and until the airline agrees to negotiate.
The action was called following an earlier stoppage in September by Ryanair staff in Germany which led to 44 flights into and out of Spain being cancelled. Two days of industrial action in July by Ryanair cabin crew in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium was followed by action by pilots in Germany and Ireland.
The unions say that issues include poor pay and working conditions, and a refusal to comply with the employment laws of the countries in which the airline operates. They add that Ryanair’s refusal to recognise unions, and threats of discipline against those join who them, is effectively breaching an employee’s right to strike which is enshrined in law.
A spokesman for the airline described the on-going dispute as “unnecessary” and causing “minimal” flight disruption.
Meanwhile, a judge in Tenerife last month ruled that a former Ryanair pilot should have been considered an employee and not an independent contractor. While Ryanair has vowed to appeal the ruling, the pilot’s lawyer said he is preparing new lawsuits for other Ryanair pilots for alleged violations of Spanish labour and tax laws.