Friday, 3 August 2018

The year of discontent for Ryanair staff

The low-fare high-fee carrier Ryanair is hardly ever out of the headlines this year, mostly because of the way it treats its staff, who have, by and large, said enough is enough and instigated industrial action in the fight for better pay or conditions or both.

Unusually for an airline, the strikes are not localised to just one base in one country, the discontent of Ryanair staff is spread to nearly ten countries and more are on the way. Ryanair currently operates from around 86 bases spread over 37 countries and flew approximately 130 million people last year alone, making it one of Europe's largest airlines. The company agreed to recognise a limited number of unions in some countries in December in an effort to appease angry staff, yet just recognising some unions in some locations hasn't made relations any better. Indeed, many in the industry have said that since the airline recognised unions, it has become even more bullish and bullying towards its staff, citing examples of threatening hundreds with redundancy if they strike, issuing preliminary notices for redundancy on Irish staff, moving aircraft and jobs to Poland, publishing misleading information about staff pay, media briefing against unions and union leaders and staff  representatives, threatened some head office staff with pay freezes if they support strike action by colleagues.

Here is a brief timeline of some of the more recent industrial action by Ryanair staff.

22nd Dec     German pilots hold a four-hour walk out.

10th Feb      Italian cabin crew and ground staff stage a four-hour walk out.

29th Mar     Portuguese cabin crew mount a one day strike.

1st Apr        Portuguese cabin crew stage another one day strike.

4th Apr       Portuguese hold another one day strike.

12th Jul       Ireland, around a quarter of the airline's Irish pilots, strike for the first time.

20th Jul       Irish pilots stage a second day-long strike.

24th Jul       Irish flight deck crew mount a third strike day.

25th Jul      The first of a two-day strike period by cabin crew in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium.

26th Jul      Second day of the cabin crew strike action by staff in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium.

3rd Aug     Irish pilots strike for another full day.

10th Aug   Date set for strike action by pilots in Sweden, Belgium and Ireland.

Pilots in Germany and The Netherlands have both voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action. The German union has given Ryanair until the 6th of August to make a better offer after talks on a collective labour agreement ended without success. Ryanair, says it will not move, so a strike looks highly likely and could also take place on 1oth August.