Following a long running feud between Ryanair staff and management at the airline, cabin crew and ground staff across Europe have announced they will hold a 48-hour strike later this month, potentially resulting in the delay or cancellation of thousands of flights. Employees in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium will strike on July 25th and 26th unless their demands are met and a deal is reached.
This comes after news that approximately 100 Ryanair pilots from the airline’s Dublin base have agreed a strike for next week, Thursday July 12, to last for 24 hours. Pilots are asking for a change in seniority rules so that those who have worked at Ryanair the longest would be eligible for first option on base transfers and annual leave. Cabin crew want better rights to sick pay and the end of steep sales targets on items like perfume and lottery style scratch-cards, among other things.
The last time strikes were threatened was just before Christmas in 2017. CEO Michael O’Leary narrowly averted them by finally agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in Ryanair's 34-year history. But employees are claiming there’s been little in the way of change or progress since then.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) held a summit in Dublin in which pilots and cabin crew put together a list of 34 demands. O’Leary branded them ‘Pointless’. A representative for the ITF stated: “Conditions at Ryanair have been heavily criticised over the last few years, with the range of issues highlighted including poverty pay, draconian disciplinary procedures, unachievable on-board sales targets and staff having to pay for items that most decent employers would provide free of charge.
It remains unclear exactly which routes will be affected should the strikes go ahead, but disruption would be far more widespread, across hubs in Dublin, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium.
The airline has said it will inform customers of any changes next Tuesday by email and SMS. In its 33-year history, a Ryanair strike has never actually materialised, so it’s feasible that O’Leary will manage to avoid it once again.