herald

Monday 12 November 2018

Summer of strikes could be on cards at Ryanair

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary

Ryanair passengers may face a summer of strikes at home and abroad as unions across Europe are expected to ann-ounce even more stoppages.

Cabin crew sources said unions may name dates for strikes in Italy, Belgium, Spain and Portugal at a meeting in Brussels today.

It is understood this could include three dates at the end of this month.

The threat of more stoppages grew as a campaign to win better conditions by staff across Europe gathered momentum.

More than 6,000 cabin crew based in 21 countries ramped up pressure on the carrier by threatening industrial action yesterday.

Cabin Crew United's "charter of demands" was unveiled a day after Irish-based pilots served notice of a 24-hour strike next Thursday, and warned there is more to come.

Members of the International Transport Workers' Federation, which organised the meeting, said individual unions will decide whether to ballot their members.

Cabin crew based abroad, who did not want to be named, demanded that they are no longer required to open Irish bank accounts, saying this prevents them getting mortgages or other loans.

Pressured

The crew also said that contracts do not always recognise national law at their base, which means they may not get full entitlements available to other workers where they live, like parental leave.

They claimed that the amount of sales commission they earn determines whether they get promotions or transfers and they feel pressured to focus more on sales than customer service.

The cabin crew also demanded pay rises and the abolition of agency work.

They claimed they are paid around €20,000 a year.

Ryanair's chief people officer Eddie Wilson appealed to Forsa yesterday to call off the "unnecessary" pilot strike next Thursday.

He offered talks on Monday or Tuesday at its Airside HQ.

In a letter to national secretary Angela Kirk, he said the airline had offered talks on pilot demands for a "seniority" system for allocating holidays, promotions and base transfers.

"We were surprised (subsequently yesterday afternoon) to receive your notice of a 24-hour strike by Irish pilots, allegedly over base transfers and a seniority list," he said.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez, of the International Transport Workers' Federation, said some unions affiliated to it are already balloting for industrial action or they are planning to.

He said some are likely to announce their plans over the next few days.

Ryanair last night described the cabin crew's claims as "pointless".

It said staff earn up to €40,000 a year and enjoy a "bank holiday weekend" every week due to a five day on, three day off roster.

The airline said they cannot fly for more than an average of 18 hours a week, get 10pc sales bonuses and receive paid and unpaid leave "as they wish".

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