Europe: Ryanair pilots and cabin crews strike over labour rights

Ryanair is facing strikes by its pilots across Europe as exploratory talks between unions and the Ireland-based budget airline are reported to have broken down. In December 2017, Ryanair had annouced that it would recognise unions for the first time in the airline's history. Grievances range from pay and rosters to labour conditions including a lack of social security and employment protection.

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10 August 2018

Ryanair laments ‘unnecessary’ strike, as pilots aim to ‘strengthen our rights’

Author: Claire Stam,

Ryanair pilots in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden are staging a 24-hour strike on Friday (August 10) in one of the most severe examples of strike action in the company’s history. The low-cost carrier has branded the action “unjustified” and “unnecessary”.

Among their demands, which include sick leave and pension schemes, the European 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 only recognised trade unions for the first time in December 2017 and has been beset by industrial action...

Speaking at a press conference in Frankfurt the same day VC held its own, Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said the German union should “remove the threat of an unjustified and unnecessary strike”.

He said that German pilots enjoy excellent working conditions and are paid up to €190,000 annually...

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10 August 2018

Unions allege Ryanair is breaching labour laws by trying to deter workers from striking; co denies allegations

Author: Sean Farrell and Rob Davies, The Guardian

Ryanair is facing legal claims from unions for allegedly violating labour laws during a row with striking workers... [A]fter making deals with unions [...], the airline has failed to engage with workers, unions claim. Pilots and cabin crew have responded with a string of strikes seeking better terms and conditions... While most EU countries allow companies to dock pay from striking staff, union sources said Ryanair threatened to strip crew of productivity bonuses and warned that their promotion chances would be affected, which would be in breach of labour laws... A Ryanair spokesperson said: “As with any company dealing with industrial relations disputes and strike action, employee attendance is recorded so that pay can be adjusted accordingly. Participation in a strike does not affect promotion or transfer decisions and this was also confirmed to our crew.”

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9 August 2018

Court refuses to ban Dutch Ryanair pilots strike, airline says all flights will go ahead


Pilots in the Netherlands who work for budget airline Ryanair have been given the green light to strike on Friday by a court in Haarlem. Ryanair went to court in an effort to have Friday’s strike ruled illegal, saying it would have a major impact if it went ahead. The court ruled that this was not the case, but did say the next time pilots strike, passengers should be told further ahead of time. Dutch Ryanair pilots only made the announcement they had decided to strike on Wednesday at 6pm. In a reaction, Ryanair said that no flights to and from the Netherlands would be cancelled due to the strike because ‘Ryanair’s pilots have decided to work on Friday 10 August to prevent disruption to our customers travelling on their summer holidays.’ ... The Netherlands was the only country where Ryanair contested the strike...

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8 August 2018

Ryanair faces a wave of strikes

Author: Barry O'Halloran, The Irish Times

Ryanair faces a wave of strikes on Friday when German pilots join Irish, Belgian, Swedish and possibly Dutch colleagues on the picket line, forcing the cancellation of almost 400 flights...

The Netherlands union, VNV-Dutch Alpa, on Wednesday night announced plans to strike on Friday. However, it is understood that Ryanair intends taking legal action on Thursday to prevent this...

Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, said that the airline regretted the “unnecessary” strike. He pointed out that the company had sent VC [the German pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit] a revised proposal on a collective labour agreement last Friday and that the union had not responded to an invitation to meet on Tuesday...

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) – part of trade union Fórsa – have accepted the company’s offer of mediation under industrial relations troubleshooter Kieran Mulvey. That process is due to begin next week.

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3 August 2018

Ryanair pilots agree to third-party mediation

Author: BBC News

Ryanair pilots who have been staging a series of strikes have accepted the airline's proposal for mediation. The Ireland-based pilots staged a fourth one-day strike on Friday and announced another for Friday 10 August. They are in dispute with the airline over issues including annual leave, seniority and base transfers. They have now agreed that a former head of the Republic of Ireland's Workplace Relations Commission should act as a third-party mediator. In a statement, pilots' union Fórsa said it looked forward to talking to Kieran Mulvey "about when a process could begin". However, next Friday's strike is still set to proceed - Ryanair pilots in Belgium and Sweden are also set to strike on the same day. The airline has criticised the action as needless, saying it would disrupt another 20 flights and 3,500 customers during the peak travel period. It said the latest action had no effect since all 3,500 customers had already been re-accommodated or refunded.

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1 August 2018

Ryanair pilots across Europe plan co-ordinated strike action

Author: Barry O'Halloran, The Irish Times

Ryanair faces “co-ordinated” pilot strikes in Europe next week to add to further industrial action in Ireland on Friday, the airline has said.

The company’s statement on Wednesday came as it emerged that pilots in Britain, one of its biggest markets, have taken a key step towards industrial action.

Ryanair said it had received notice of strikes on Friday August 10th by pilot unions in Belgium and Sweden.

“We have also been notified of possible strike action by pilot unions in Germany and the Netherlands which will, we believe, be co-ordinated and occur on Friday August 10th,” the airline added.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) has served a “failure to agree” notice on the airline, the first of several steps that could end in industrial action... 

Ryanair will meet Balpa on Thursday for talks on a collective labour agreement. The airline confirmed that it has also invited unions in Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden to meet to discuss similar deals.

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31 July 2018

Ryanair's German pilots join Europe-wide strikes over labour rights

Author: BBC

"Ryanair threatened by fresh strikes in Germany", 30 July 2018

Ryanair's German pilots have voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking in a row over pay and conditions.

The Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union said 96% were in favour of striking. It has given Ryanair until 6 August to make an offer to avoid a strike, which must be announced 24 hours in advance.

Ryanair has already cancelled hundreds of flights this month due to pilot strikes in Dublin and cabin crew walkouts in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium...

[The Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union] wants collective bargaining agreements with Ryanair and conditions on a par with similar budget airlines such as TUI.

Ingolf Schumacher, chairman of collective bargaining agreements at Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), accused Ryanair of "playing in the negotiations" which have been going on since January.

Ryanair said it had invited the union to another meeting next week.

"We hope we can make further progress in concluding a collective labour agreement with our pilots in Germany," a spokesperson for the airline said...

Ryanair agreed last year to recognise unions as official representatives for workers, but it has struggled to reach agreements with some of them.The move followed a scheduling crisis last September which led to the cancellation of thousands of flights.

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5 July 2018

Ryanair cabin crew call for 'fair living wage' just weeks after airline signed recognition deal with UK union

Author: Independent

"Ryanair cabin crew call for 'fair living wage' in 34-point list of demands", 5 July 2018

[T]he airline’s cabin crew and ground staff have issued a list of 34 demands...

The “Ryanair Crew Charter”, which emerged from the meeting, contains demands from staff at the airline’s 86 bases in 21 countries...

Most of the document is concerned with cabin crew, and the top demand is: “A fair living wage that reflects the work we do”. Other key concerns are seniority pay, compensation for disrupted schedules, and an end to the extra costs incurred by cabin crew – including food and water on duty, and uniforms.” ...

The document hints at some of Ryanair’s employment practices. Staff say the airline should be working “towards the abolition of agency employment” ...

Last week, the airline signed a recognition deal with Unite covering all UK-based cabin crew it directly employs...

In a statement to The Independent, the airline said: "Ryanair is already engaged in extensive negotiations with national cabin crew unions across Europe during which all of these, and other issues, are being negotiated, and we have already concluded agreements in the UK and Italy.”

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5 April 2018

Portugal: Ryanair cabin crew holds strike over workers rights; govt. promises to investigate

Author: The Irish Times

"Ryanair cancels flights in Portugal after strike", 4 April

Ryanair cabin crew held a third one-day strike in Portugal over worker rights on Wednesday, prompting [...] a government promise to investigate alleged violations.

Europe’s largest low-cost carrier said the majority of Portuguese crews were working normally... “Just eight first wave flights from Portugal were cancelled out of a total of 170 daily flights to/from Portugal...” said a spokesman.

SNPVAC accuses Ryanair of using its Irish jurisdiction to ignore parenthood rights and not allow doctor-approved sick days...

One of the strike’s goals was to involve the government in the dispute.

Ryanair, which was forced to recognise trade unions to avoid mass strikes in December, argues that staff working conditions are comparable to competitors...

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14 March 2018

Ryanair to offer full employment contracts to German pilots

Author: Benjamin Katz, Christopher Jasper and Tom Lavell, Bloomberg

Ryanair Holdings Plc will offer direct employment to some German pilots currently working under contract, as a recruitment specialist ends its services for the discount carrier in the country... 

The switch may help pave the way for a unionization deal between the Dublin-based airline and its German pilots after they staged the first strike in the company’s history on Dec. 22. The four-hour stoppage was called after a breakdown in talks with the Vereinigung Cockpit labor group over the transition to collective bargaining.

Vereinigung Cockpit is aware of the McGinley letter, and the change to direct contracts is a welcome development, though tax implications need to be clarified, the union’s international relations officer James Phillips said...

Germany, where about half of Ryanair’s pilots are outside contractors, has remained a thorn in the carrier’s side after it secured labor accords in markets including the U.K. and Ireland. Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary has been forced to drop a longstanding anti-union stance after staff gained bargaining power following a rostering mixup that led 20,000 flights to be scrapped.


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