Ryanair pilots plan next wave of strikes

Pilot representatives at Ryanair will meet later today to decide on dates for another wave of strikes here.

The next stoppages by directly employed pilots could begin within the next fortnight, though the union must give at least one week’s notice of any action.

The meeting of Fórsa trade union’s disputes committee to decide on the next phase here comes as hundreds of the airline’s flights to and from Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Italy are grounded today and tomorrow due to strikes by cabin crew.

The airline’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said the pilots’ strikes here, the latest of which took place yesterday, are not working.

“More strikes should be averted,” he said. “They are being done at this time of the year to have the maximum impact but they are not working.

 

“The best thing that can happen next is that Fórsa takes this more seriously, they stop this charade, they meet us, and they actually respond to the proposals we made that actually give them most of what they are looking for.”

Mr Jacobs also told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme that “a lot of what the union are saying is the dance that they go through” and that “they want to copy/paste the Aer Lingus pilot agreement into Ryanair and that won’t work”.

He rejected union demands for a third-party intervention saying the company does not think it is needed as it is only a minority of pilots involved and it would only slow the process down.

Meanwhile, Ryanair, EasyJet, Wizz Air, and International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns Aer Lingus and British Airways, have submitted complaints to the European Commission against France over its air traffic controllers’ (ATC) strikes.

The airlines argue France is breaking EU law by not enabling flights over the country during strikes and that passengers on overflights are being denied their fundamental freedom to travel between member states not affected by strike action.

The airlines said that French ATC strikes have increased by 300% compared to 2017 and that the French senate has confirmed that France alone is responsible for 33% of flight delays in Europe.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “The right to strike needs to be balanced against freedom of movement.

“It’s not only customers flying in and out of France who are affected during French ATC strikes. Passengers on routes that overfly France, especially the large airspace that covers Marseille and the Mediterranean, are also subject to delays and massive disruptions.”

“This affects all airlines but has a significant negative impact on Spain’s tourism and economy,” he said.

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary said Europe’s ATC providers are reaching the point of meltdown with hundreds of flights being cancelled and delayed daily either because of ATC strikes or because Europe’s ATC providers don’t have enough staff: “When Greece and Italy have ATC strikes, overflights continue as normal. Why won’t France do the same?”

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