Ryanair Faces Possible Strike Action In Europe

Airlines are having to deal with severe difficulties due to a shortage of staff and a surge in demand. Many airlines are therefore finding it difficult due to the fact that they cut down on staff numbers during the pandemic and it is taking time for airlines to recruit more staff now that the demand is more.

For Ryanair however it appears that the situation is more severe as pilots are planning to go on strike in 5 European countries; Belgium, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. According to the website Simple Flying, Pilots and cabin crew are seeking improved pay and conditions. Strikes are due to take place in Belgium and Portugal from June 24th to June 26th. In France, striking will take place from June 25th to June 26th. In Italy, striking will be taking place on June 25th.  For Spain, more strikes have been announced plans taking place from June 24th- June 26th and June 30th to July 2nd.

Staff Grievances

Unions from Belgium, the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions of Belgium (ACV) and the Association of Employees, Technicians and Managers (BBTK), have said Ryanair was not respecting Belgian law covering such issues as the minimum wage or pay of cabin staff for certain pre-and post-flight work. As a result, they were forced to take action.

Strike action is now more commonplace among transport industries. In the UK Rail passengers are facing misery with train drivers and other support staff are going on strike over pay and conditions. However, in relation to the UK, Ryanair has been successful at averting a strike from its UK staff.

Ryanair B737 © Marco Macca/Travel Radar
Ryainair is set to undergo strike action in 5 European countries © Marco Macca/Travel Radar

Success In The UK

According to Reuters and Bloomberg, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has accepted a revised pay deal from Ryanair, as stated in Simple Flying. A union spokesperson said that BALPA’s Ryanair members had voted to accept the new deal, which means that pay will be restored back to pre-Covid levels. During the pandemic, BALPA members voted to accept wage cuts temporarily in order to avoid job losses. In January Michael O’Leary, Ryanair CEO, had begun discussions with trade unions across the network about restoring staff pay. He however did not confirm what the outcome would be, although he did say that the deal might result in pay agreements in a year or two.

Ryanair has rebounded strongly from the pandemic with losses greatly reduced from 355 million Euros in the year ending March 2022 compared to a 1.01 billion Euro loss in the previous year. Passenger numbers have also greatly increased from 27.5 million in March 2021 to 97.1 million in March 2022. Nevertheless, the airline is still making a loss. This means that the airline will find it harder to restore staff pay which is why it may be having problems in Europe.

Ryanair B737 © Andrea Ongaro/Travel Radar
Ryanair has been more successful in negotiating with staff in the UK. © Andrea Ongaro/Travel Radar

Fortunately, however, it has successfully managed to negotiate a deal with staff in the UK, even though the country is facing strikes in other transport industries. This deal with UK staff is therefore positive news for the company. However, on a European front, the negotiations are going to have to continue. The management at Ryanair will however be encouraged by its successes in the UK, but will have a more difficult time unless strike action in Europe is averted.

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Amuthan Chandrarajan
Amuthan Chandrarajan
Aviation Reporter - Amuthan has a background in residential and commercial real estate. He also has a keen interest in aviation and travel and has visited many countries. Amuthan has a sound knowledge of business and finance.  He has gained a Master of Business Administration and has become a Chartered Management Accountant. 

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