Ryanair staff in Spain set to strike at the peak of the summer travel season

Jun 14, 2022

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Ryanair staff in Spain are planning a six-day strike next month raising fears of further flight cancellations at the height of the Summer holiday season.

Spanish trade union USO said Spanish workers on the payroll of the Irish budget carrier will stage a walkout on 24, 25, 26 and 30 June and 1 and 2 July.

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While Ryanair has downplayed the announcement claiming its Spanish crew wouldn’t support the strike, the industrial action could impact Brits flying to Spanish destinations this summer.

It comes after Ryanair bosses walked away from talks with USO and SITCPLA last week as a row over pay and working conditions broke down.

In a joint statement, the unions accused Ryanair of refusing to take the negotiations seriously and of acting in “bad faith”.

“Ryanair crew continue to be third-party workers, our rights are still not respected,” said USO general secretary Lidia Arasanz. “Ryanair has forced this strike and we must go back to mobilising for a strike so that the reality of our situation is known so that Ryanair is forced to comply with the application of basic labour rights and court rulings and to achieve an agreement and some decent working conditions for the entire workforce. Ryanair is the only international company in our country without a collective agreement.”

Related: Summer of strikes? European labour action already disrupting travel

Ryanair responded in a letter saying a collective agreement had “almost made no progress” because of the unions’ “unrealistic demands and refusal to meaningfully engage.”

A Ryanair spokesperson sought to downplay the power of USO and SITCPLA, adding that it didn’t believe its Spanish staff would support the strike.

“Ryanair has negotiated collective agreements covering 90% of our people across Europe,” the spokesperson said. “In recent months we have been negotiating improvements to those agreements as we work through the Covid recovery phase.

“Those negotiations are going well and we do not expect widespread disruption this summer.

Related: British Airways check-in staff could strike during peak of summer holidays

“In Spain, we are pleased to have reached a collective agreement with CCOO, Spain’s largest and most representative union, delivering improvements for Spanish-based cabin crew and reinforcing Ryanair’s commitment to the welfare of its cabin crew.

“These announcements by the much smaller USO and SITCPLA unions are a distraction from their own failures to deliver agreements after three years of negotiations and we believe that any strikes they call will not be supported by our Spanish crews.”

SITCPLA vice president Manuel Lodeiro said SITCPLA and USO were the only two unions “chosen by the [Ryanair] workers to negotiate their conditions”, claiming that CCOO did not represent any Ryanair staff. “Ryanair has left the table after the announcement of possible strikes in Spain and other European countries against the breaches in working conditions that the company continues to carry out,” he added.

Featured image by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

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