Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Ryanair braces for biggest ever one-day strike

Ryanair braces for biggest ever one-day strike

Ryanair passengers claimed they faced chaos during a 24-hour strike which left British travellers stranded across Europe.

Ryanair confirmed the cancellations and strike today (Friday August 10), calling it "regrettable and unjustified", as pilots based in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands walked out in a dispute over working conditions and pay.

At Charleroi Airport, Belgium's second largest and a major Ryanair hub in the region, striking staff gathered in the departure hall and held up banners reading "Ryanair must change- Respect us".

The VNV said it has been negotating with Ryanair over a pay-and-conditions agreement for eight months without making any progress. "The strike may go ahead", judge Theo Roell said.

A spokesman said that despite the walkouts, 85% of Ryanair's scheduled flights, more than 2,000, would operate as normal.

"If this isn't available on the same or next day then we will accommodate you to your end destination on airlines with whom we have a reciprocal agreement".

The company is eyeing profits of around €1.25billion (£1.12billion) this year, and boasts lower costs per passenger than its competitors.

Anyone whose flight is expected to be disrupted will receive an email or SMS text advising them of the news, Ryanair said, with the status of individual flights able to be checked on its website.

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A Dutch court on Thursday evening rejected a case from Ryanair seeking to block pilots in the Netherlands from joining the strike, affecting about 22 flights.

Ryanair planes have a capacity of 189, meaning more than 74,000 passengers could be affected.

Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.

The Spanish pilots' union - which represents around 500 of the 800 Ryanair pilots in Spain - says it is going to sue the airline after a year of failed talks.

It has already threatened to move part of its Dublin fleet to Poland, which could cost 300 jobs, including 100 pilot positions.

A statement from CEO Michael O'Leary said: "Ryanair fully complies with all EU261 legislation, however as these flight cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances, no compensation is due".

The European Trade Union Confederation welcomed the cross-border action by the pilots, saying it made it harder for management to ignore the pilots' demands.

Last night, Ryanair said "it took every step to minimise disruption" to passengers.

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