LONDON: The troubled Ryanair will once again plunge into transport chaos, as the airlines will cut 150 flights because of strike action across Europe on September 28, amid urges from Brussels to respect workers’ rights enshrined in EU law.
The Dublin-based carrier said that it would cancel certain flights amidst the walk-outs in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. It had previously estimated 190 would be affected.
Trade unions have claimed that Friday’s 24-hour stoppage will be the biggest strike in the Irish carrier’s history.
Ryanair said in a statement that the vast majority of its 2,400 flights “will be unaffected by these unnecessary strikes and will operate as scheduled”.
All affected customers received email and text message notifications on September 25 to advise them of cancellations and options, Ryanair said.
Ryanair staffs have been seeking higher wages and an end to the practice whereby many have been working as independent contractors without the benefits of staff employees.
Another key complaint of workers based in countries other than Ireland is the fact that Ryanair has been employing them under Irish legislation, which creates insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in respective countries.
EU Social Affairs Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said air crews should be employed under contracts from the country where they work.
“Respecting EU law is not something over which workers should have to negotiate, nor is it something which can be done differently from country to country. I made this very clear to Mr O’Leary,” Thyssen said in a statement after a meeting between Ryanair’s combative chief executive Michael O’Leary and EU officials.
At a press conference O’Leary called for the cancellation of the strike, threatening to shrink Ryanair’s fleet at two Brussels airports if it went ahead.
In July, strikes by cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers, plunging Ryanair into transport chaos at the peak of the busy summer season.