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photo: © Thorbjørn Brunander Sund, danishaviationphoto.com

Ryanair to axe nearly 200 flights on Friday

The carrier’s cabin crews across Europe plan to strike, but Ryanair says this amounts to just 8% of its flights.

Ryanair has pre-cancelled 190 of its 2,400 flights scheduled for Friday, blaming a planned strike by cabin crew based in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and Germany, The Guardian reports.

The low-cost carrier has already suffered a summer of disruption. It has not revealed exactly which flights have been cancelled, which it says account for 8% of its flight total on the day, but it states that all 30,000 affected passengers have been notified by text and email.

Ryanair says it “sincerely regrets these unnecessary customer disruptions”, which it claims are the result of agitation from employees at rival airlines – similar to a claim it made earlier this year.

The strikes are related to working conditions, as employees who are based in countries other than Ireland want the airline to employ them under their own nations’ legislation.

The staff complain that they have to receive their salaries in Irish bank accounts, which affects their credit ratings at home. Ryanair says it has agreed to move to local contracts, law and taxation next year, but with certain conditions.

“Ryanair sincerely regrets these unnecessary customer disruptions, which have been called by unions at the behest of competitor airline employees,” Ryanair said in a statement.

The airline’s marketing chief, Kenny Jacobs, added: “These repeated unnecessary strikes are damaging Ryanair’s business and our customer confidence at a time when oil prices are rising strongly, and if they continue, it is inevitable that we will have to look again at our capacity growth this winter and in summer 2019. We hope these unions will see common sense.”

During earlier strikes this summer, chief executive Michael O’Leary threatened to move jobs to Poland, a country where industrial action is less common.

“If we have people who just want to have strikes for the sake of having strikes, then they can have strikes and they’ll find themselves [with] jobs getting moved,” he warned.

Deal in Italy
On September 25, Ryanair confirmed it had agreed a collective labour agreement with the three main cabin crew unions in Italy.

The three-year deal runs from October 1 and allows Italian cabin crew to transition to local contracts over an agreed period with immediate access to Italian benefits such as maternity and paternity leave. It includes a new pay structure and introduces an Italian pension scheme.

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