Published: Mon, October 01, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Ryanair forced to cancel flights due to strike action

Ryanair forced to cancel flights due to strike action

Europe's largest low-priced carrier has faced multiple strikes since it bowed to pressure to recognise trade unions for the first time in December, with staff stepping up pressure in talks over pay and conditions.

Walk-outs by cabin crew took place in Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.

The carrier says about 35,000 of its 450,000 passengers have been affected by the disruption brought by the two strikes.

But it added 90% of flights would operate as normal.

Ryanair initially cancelled 150 flights due to what it said was an unnecessary strike by a "tiny minority of cabin crew". The airline said earlier in the week that some 190 flights had been cancelled, however, additional industrial action announced Thursday, meant that number increased.

Ryanair chief operations officer Peter Bellew said it was "deeply disappointing" that some of its passengers in Germany will have their flights disrupted.

They say employing staff under Irish law inconveniences workers and affects their ability to access social security benefits.

At Charleroi Airport in Belgium, around 20 strikers unfurled a strike banner at the terminal and four of 12 scheduled services were canceled. "O'Leary today", Thyssen said in a statement after a meeting between Ryanair's combative chief executive Michael O'Leary and European Union officials.

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"If need be, there will be further strikes".

Passengers on cancelled flights were contacted on Tuesday to advise them of their options.

The Dutch union VNV said it was seeking to take legal action to prevent Ryanair from bringing pilots in from overseas to replace striking Dutch crews.

A spokesman for Ryanair said the company has already written to the unions in Belgium and all other EU countries, offering to implement local law, social taxes and to accept local court jurisdiction.

The EU executive backed Ryanair workers on Wednesday by saying they should work under contracts in the countries where they live rather than in Ireland where the airline's planes are registered.

The comments by the pilot trade union were made shortly before the start of yet another round of Europe-wide strikes at Ryanair on Friday to demand better working conditions at Europe's largest budget airline.

Ryanair, which now has 86 bases, aims to fly 200-million passengers per year by 2024, up from a forecast of 139-million in 2018.

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