It has been warned that strikes by fed up Ryanair crews could mean a holiday from hell for Irish families this summer.
Cabin crew unions in Spain are threatening large-scale industrial action amid tense wage negotiations with the Irish airline and say they could get support from colleagues in Portugal, France, Italy and Belgium.
Six key strike dates have been announced until the end of July. Experts say further travel disruptions could follow if disgruntled aviation employees in Ireland also vote for action due to European developments.
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But in a statement to the Irish Mirror, Ryanair dismissed the strike threat as a “distraction” and the airline said workers will not support strike calls.
The strike threat in Spain has been announced weeks before the first waves of Irish families take off at the start of the summer school holidays.
Irish travel expert Eoghan Corry has warned that strike threats from unions could hit airlines like Ryanair. He said: “The power that a union has in the aviation sector in the modern age is in advance bookings, creating uncertainty and reducing advance bookings at airlines like Ryanair.”
Unions for part of Ryanair’s Spanish cabin crew have revealed strike dates for one of the busiest times of the year.
They are June 24, 25, 26 and 30, plus July 1 and 2 and could affect many of the 1,400 Ryanair crew in Spain. Lidia Arasanz, who is general secretary of the Workers’ Union, said: “We have to resume the mobilization so that the reality of our situation is known and Ryanair is forced to comply with basic labor laws.”
However, Ryanair bosses have expressed confidence that a pay deal will prevent disruptions across Europe this summer. The Irish Mirror asked a spokesman for the airline if the pay dispute could result in disruption for its Irish passengers.
She described the strike threat as a “distraction” and said: “Ryanair has negotiated collective agreements that cover 90% of our people across Europe. In recent months, we have been negotiating improvements to those agreements as we move through the recovery phase from Covid.
“Those negotiations are going well and we don’t expect a widespread disruption this summer.”
He added: “The recent announcements by much smaller USO and SITCPLA unions are a distraction from their own failures to deliver deals after three years of negotiations and we believe their strike calls will not be supported by our Spanish crews.”
Staff at Ryanair, now Europe’s biggest airline in terms of passenger numbers, have pulled out in other countries, including Belgium and Italy.
With most Covid-related travel restrictions lifted in many countries in recent months, summer travel demand has picked up.
The surge in demand has left airlines and airport operators scrambling to hire staff fast enough to handle the flow of passengers and offer them attractive working conditions.
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