Hundreds of Ryanair flights cancelled today as pilots strike in five countries

10 August, 2018, 19:31 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Ryanair strike Dutch pilots are disputing working conditions

Many complained they had missed weddings or lost over a day of their holiday thanks to flights being cancelled, with waiting times of up to 10 hours in airports.

In response to unions serving Ryanair strike notices, Europe's largest low-priced carrier has announced in recent days the cancellations of 250 flights in and out 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.

Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair marketing director, called the strike "useless", and said that Ryanair pilots are paid better than their counterparts at competitor airlines Easyjet or Norwegian. The budget airline has so far canceled 400 flights affecting over 70,000 passengers across Europe.

A judge later ruled that Dutch pilots could join the strike.

Customers have been notified and a majority of those affected moved to another Ryanair flight, the company said.

But pilots counter that Ryanair has refused to engage in meaningful dialogue about collective labour agreements since it began recognising unions in December 2017.

Last month cabin crew on Ryanair flights serving Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Italy downed tools.

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As many as 250 flights across Germany have been hit, with the airline having earlier this week announced an additional 146 cancelled across Ireland, Belgium and Sweden.

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. As Ryanair had already informed passengers of the disruption there was "no one looking desperately for flights".

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.

Ryanair has repeatedly said it remained open to further talks with pilot representatives. But it has also threatened to move part of its fleet to Poland, which could mean a loss of jobs.

But at about the same time Ryanair issued a statement saying there would be no cancellations.

Peter Scherrer, deputy secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation, said he welcomed today's cross-border show of unity by pilots.

'We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling any more unjustified strikes'.

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