Ryanair strike in five European nations

Kenny Jacobs Ryanair’s chief marketing officer at a news conference in Germany yesterday

Kenny Jacobs Ryanair’s chief marketing officer at a news conference in Germany yesterdayRALPH ORLOWSKI REUTERS

Dozens of Ryanair flights into and out of United Kingdom will not take place as scheduled on Friday as a result of a strike by pilots in Europe.

Ryanair operates more than 2,000 flights a day, serving 223 airports across 37 countries in Europe and North Africa, and insists it will not change the low-priced model that transformed the industry and has made it Europe's most profitable airline.

Around 250 flights have been cancelled as a result, forcing passengers who planned on travelling on Friday to rebook or take different routes.

"For decades Ryanair has refused their employees basic labour rights most employees on the labour market take for granted, but here a strike is necessary to show the airline that it no longer can avoid treating its employees in a dignified manner", Martin Lindgren, President of the Swedish Pilots' Union, said in a statement.

The company calls the strikes "regrettable and unjustified".

In the Netherlands, Ryanair filed for an urgent court order to try to prevent Dutch pilots from joining the industrial action.

Ryanair, which averted widespread strikes before Christmas by agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history, has been unable to quell rising protests since over slow progress in negotiating collective labour agreements.

The action is the latest in a series of disagreements between Ryanair management and staff after the firm recognized its employee unions in late 2017 and entered into negotiations.

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But Ryanair pilots say they earn less than counterparts at other airlines such as Lufthansa.

This includes 78 flights to or from Spain, a move that will affect 14,000 passengers.

Staff are holding a 24-hour walkout over pay and conditions.

But chief executive Michael O'Leary has also warned the airline may shift jobs and planes to more profitable areas if the turmoil continues.

Unions have strongly condemned what they see as Ryanair's attempts to play countries off against each other.

It said it has taken every step to minimise the disruption, adding: "The majority of customers affected have already been re-accommodated on another Ryanair flight".

Responding to the comments Mr Calder made on the BBC today, Ryanair told Express.co.uk: "In the case of a cancelled flight, if the customer requests a full refund, then no further compensation is due".

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