Last weekend, combined strikes across major Italian airports forced the cancellation of 500 passenger flights. The independent actions by unions of pilots and ATC workers overlapped for three hours, causing such severe disruptions that the regulator on strikes was forced to intervene in the interest of passengers. The workers demand that the Italian government enforce minimum wage requirements for low-cost carriers.
500 Flights Cancelled
It is estimated that around 40,000 passengers were affected by the strikes on Sunday 17 , July. Action by the pilot union, FILT CGIL, overlapped with action by ATC workers from the union Uiltrasporti, causing mass disruptions across several Italian airports. The same unions teamed up to orchestrate cabin crew strikes back in June. This time, employees of the cabin crew agency CrewLink also participated.
Of the 500 flights affected, over half belonged to Ryanair, with the rest operated by other low-cost airlines such as easyJet, Air Malta, and Volotea. Pilots and crew demanded better working conditions, such as the availability of food and water on long working days. Ryanair makes staff bring their own water bottles on flights, which they must fill up at the airport.
Strikes Cut Short
The action lasted from 14:00 to 18:00 local time, but was initially planned to go on for 24 hours. The Guarantee Commission on Strikes cut the demonstration short after judging the effects on passengers to be too severe. A statement by the unions, FILT and Uiltrasporti read:
“We comply with the decision taken by the Guarantor, but at the same time, we urge an intervention by the Government to open as soon as possible a discussion table with low-cost airlines and verify compliance with Article 203 of the Relaunch Decree on the application of the minimum wages provided for by the national air transport contract, a request that we have already expressly made in recent days to the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility.”
Article 203 states that carriers must pay minimum wage to Italian airline workers or face “revocation of the concessions, authorisations and certifications issued to them by the Italian Administrative Authority”. Unions are asking the authorities to enforce these rights by calling airlines to account.
FILT CGIL says they are waiting for “concrete answers” from the Italian Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility by Wednesday, 20 July. “If we do not get satisfactory answers, we will mobilize to obtain what pilots and flight attendants of the Ryanair Group legitimately claim.”
What are your thoughts on the strike action? Have you been affected? Let us know in the comments below!