More Ryanair strikes planned for this weekend — what you should know
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Further travel woes are expected across Europe this weekend when yet more Ryanair staff go on strike at Paris-Beauvais Airport — the latest industrial action facing the airline’s bosses.
The walkouts on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July will likely see all flights scheduled to depart and arrive at the airport cancelled. It’s also sure to pile pressure on surrounding airports as passengers scramble for alternative flights.
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An hour’s drive north of the French capital, Paris-Beauvais Airport welcomes almost four million passengers annually and mostly caters to low-cost airlines such as Ryanair.
This bout of industrial action comes after French pilots asked for an improved basic salary and overtime payment back in April. A new deal was agreed upon shortly after, but the National Union of Airline Pilots (SNPL), have claimed it was not reflected in last month’s pay packet, and now another strike is due.
This isn’t the only industrial action facing Ryanair right now of course. After an initial wave of strikes at the start of July, Ryanair crews in Spain announced a further 12 days of walkouts from 12 July, right across the 10 Spanish airports that the airline operates from.
Many of those who joined the picket line are in the final days of this 12-day walkout that started on 12 July, while more strikes will be hitting Spanish airports from Monday 25 to Thursday 28 July.
Next week’s four days of Ryanair strike action next week is set to affect flights to destinations including Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Madrid, Valencia Ibiza and more, with cancelled series and increased queue times.
Dubbed the “summer of discontent”, a clash between unions and airline bosses has been brewing for some time as workers across Europe now threaten to unleash mass disruption through staff strikes.
While Ryanair appears to have remained relatively immune to the current spate of cancellations caused by staff shortages that have blighted many of its rivals’ summer flight plans, it has not jumped the wave of strikes now threatening the industry.
But what exactly are the Ryanair strikes about, when are they happening and what can you do if they affect your flight?
What dates are the Ryanair strikes happening?
Ryanair staff will stage walkouts this weekend (23-28) at Paris-Beauvais Airport. This is almost likely to see all the carrier’s flights to and from the airport cancelled.
Meanwhile, Spanish unions USO and SICTPLA have announced cabin crew will strike between 25-28 July (Monday to Thursday), affecting a variety of Spanish destinations including, Madrid, Málaga, Seville, Alicante, Valencia, Barcelona, Girona, Santiago de Compostela, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca.
What does the airline say?
“Less than one per cent of Ryanair’s flights have been affected in the past month by recent minor and poorly supported cabin crew strikes called by unions who are either not recognised by or who represent tiny numbers of Ryanair crews,” read a statement by Ryanair.
“Air Traffic Control (ATC) and airport staff shortages across Europe, which are beyond Ryanair’s control, may however cause some minor disruption, and any passengers whose flights are disrupted by ATC staff shortages will be notified of their entitlements by email/SMS.”
However, we would still advise that you ensure you check the news and stay up to date if you’re due to travel with Ryanair to any of these locations on the above dates.
Which staff are striking and why?
There have been Ryanair strikes across much of the continent, affecting staff in Italy, Germany, France, Spain and beyond.
With inflation surging across the continent, many Ryanair workers are wrestling with the rising cost of living. Now, they want higher wages in line with those of other sectors, as well as better conditions.
Let’s use Ryanair’s Spanish cabin crew as an example. As third-party staff employed by the airline via recruitment agencies, they are paid a base rate of €8,715 (£7,500), then paid extra for flight hours. But they are not guaranteed a minimum number of flights.
Recent flight cancellations have meant that some crew members are taking home as little as €300 (£261) per month.
They also want the right to reduce their working hours due to legal guardianship or family care and complain that their contracts are not written in Spanish.
French pilots, meanwhile, had been promised an improved pay deal after threatening to strike over salary back in April, but it appears the airline didn’t hold up its end of the bargain and now there will be two days of strikes at France’s 10th busiest airport.
When will I know if my flight is cancelled?
If you had plans to take a flight to or from Paris-Beauvais Airport on Ryanair this weekend, look for alternative options while you can as it’ll most likely be axed.
Elsewhere, particularly in Spain, just keep tabs on your flights via app or website as much as you can. Negotiations between unions and airlines usually have set deadlines by which an agreement must be found before action is activated.
These talks can often go to the wire, so you may not find out if your flight has been cancelled until the last minute. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
How do I know if my flight is cancelled?
Most airlines promise to notify customers via email as soon as their flight is cancelled.
On its website, Ryanair says: “If your flight has been cancelled we will notify you as soon as possible by e-mail and/or text message to the e-mail address and/or phone number provided at the time of booking.”
But if you are worried that your flight may have been affected by strikes, you can check its status by visiting Ryanair’s “live info” travel page and entering the details of your flights to find out in a second if your flight is on-time, delayed or cancelled.
Can I claim compensation if my flight is affected?
Potentially yes, if you are not given sufficient notice. As Ryanair’s current strike disputes are over pay and conditions and the carrier has been given ample opportunity to resolve the matter, they would not technically be classed as extraordinary circumstances. To be able to make a claim Ryanair must have given you less than 14 days’ notice to qualify for compensation.
If that’s the case, you will likely be able to claim compensation of between £220 and £520, depending on the length of delay and distance of travel.
If you were notified with more than 14 days to go before your flight, EU law still obligates the airline to offer you a full refund or book you on the next available flight.
Please note that this isn’t a de facto rule that applies to strikes. Industrial action can sometimes fall outside of the airline’s control and easily fall into the category of “extraordinary circumstances”, in this instance however they arguably do not.
For more information on when you can claim compensation on a cancelled flight due to a strike, read our article, Are you entitled to compensation if your flight is affected by strikes?
Additional reporting: Joe Ellison
Featured image by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images.
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