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Ryanair cabin crew to strike at peak summer

Staff Writer |
With the busy summer season in full swing, Ryanair’s cabin crew are all set to go on strike Wednesday and Thursday in Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Italy, forcing the airline to cancel 600 flights.

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Five unions are behind a stoppage affecting 100,000 passengers, forcing the no-frills airline either to reimburse their trips or offer them alternative flights.

According to the company, “90 percent of affected passengers have been transferred” to another flight.

Spain, the world’s second tourist destination after France, is the worst affected country.

The airline predicts the strike could affect “up to 200 of over 830 daily Ryanair flights” to and from there.

In Portugal and Belgium, Ryanair says the stoppage will affect up to 50 daily flights.

In Italy, unions have also called for a stoppage but the airline says its flights schedule there will not be affected.

Founded 33 years ago in Dublin, the Irish low-cost carrier has grown

uickly and boasts lower costs per passenger than its competitors. But employees have long slammed their working conditions and the airline has been hit by several strikes this year.

For Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs, these “are entirely unjustified.”

“Ryanair cabin crew enjoy great pay — up to 40,000 euros [Dh170,000] p.a. (in countries with high youth unemployment) — industry leading rosters (14 days off each month), great sales commissions, uniform allowances and sick pay,” he said in a statement.

But Spain’s Antonio Escobar of the Sitcpla cabin crew union retorted: “In Italy, some 100 Ryanair cabin crew sent Ryanair a letter to claim the difference between the 17,000 euros they’ve earned and these 40,000 euros.

“The large majority of cabin crew don’t have a base salary, which means if you don’t fly, you don’t get paid,” he added.

Unions want the airline to give contractors the same work conditions as its own employees.

“On board the same plane, for instance a Madrid to Charleroi flight, you will find four cabin crew members doing the same job but none will be earning the same,” Escobar said.

One will be employed directly by Ryanair and the others by temporary work agencies, he added.

Unions are also asking that Ryanair staff be employed according to the national legislation of the country they operate in, rather than that of Ireland as is currently the case.

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