Ryanair have been reported as saying it does not expect widespread disruption this summer, after industrial action was called unions representing cabin crews in Spain, on Monday.
Announcing their six-day strike the USO and SITCPLA unions, representing a significant number of airline staff across Spain, following a break down in talks with the Irish no frills air carrier, who are calling for more than 1200 people to walk out on June 24, 25, 26 and 30 and on July 1 and 2, as they continue to be unhappy with working conditions and pay, the USO union said.
Staff of Ryanair, the Dublin-based airline largest in Europe in passenger numbers, have walked out in other European countries including Belgium and Italy. However, the airline have been reported to have made a statement (though the statement does not appear on their usual media centre) saying they have already negotiated collective agreements that cover 90% of their staff across Europe, despite claims from the Spanish unions that the current agreements do not even meet Spanish labour standards, for basic leave among other issues.
“In recent months we have been negotiating improvements to those agreements as we work through the Covid recovery phase,” said the company. “Those negotiations are going well and we do not expect widespread disruption this summer.”
The airline announced it had also reached agreement with the Spanish CCOO union, which of course is one of the key issues for the other unions, who say the CCOO do not represent the majority of airline staff in Spain, and have claimed that the signed agreement includes wage increases that had already been ordered by Spanish courts as Ryanair pay cuts had been judged not to have been legal, and so they were ordered to restore workers wages to their previous levels.
“Recent announcements by” what Ryaniar called “the much smaller USO and SITCPLA unions” say the airline “are a distraction from their own failures to deliver agreements after three years of negotiations and we believe that their strike calls will not be supported by our Spanish crews,” the airline added.
Demand for summer travel has gone through the roof, leaving many airlines and airport operators struggling to hire enough staff quickly enough, after most Covid-related travel restrictions were lifted various countries over recent months. Cabin crew workers say that a repeated lack of management forethought and support for existing staff has left airlines struggling to handle the suddenly increasing flow of passengers, as training new staff can take time, even if they were to offer them attractive working conditions.
The Unions have said the objective of this new strike is none other than to get Ryanair to resume the negotiations of the first collective agreement for tcp in Spain. This had been under negotiation for 8 months with SITCPLA and USO, the only unions chosen by the workers to negotiate their conditions. “Ryanair has left the table after the announcement of possible mobilizations in Spain and other European countries against the breaches in labor matters that the company continues to carry out. And it also does so after signing an agreement with CCOO, a union with no implantation among the company’s flight personnel, with working conditions already achieved by SITCPLA and USO, either as a result of previous strikes or after legal claims”, Manuel defends. Lodeiro, Vice President of SITCPLA at Ryanair.
Ryanair have repeatedly made headlines over recent years due to staff claims about inadequate pay and working conditions, there have been several instances whereby Spanish courts have ordered them to reverse pay cuts and redundancies, as well as claims of safety concerns from their pilots. Their unilateral closure of their Canary Islands base was deemed to be unlawful. Nonetheless their tickets remain some of the cheapest on the market, allowing them to continue with the greatest volumes of passengers in the European Union. It’s a choice.