Ryanair’s latest strike was always going to have a massive impact on its customers. It’s the largest strike in the airlines 34 year history, and pilots across a number of European countries have coordinated their industrial action on one of the busiest days of summer. But, how exactly has it affected the tens of thousands of passengers using the airline every day?
On the day of the strike, it was reported that over 70,000 passengers had their flights cancelled. According to the airline, 250 flights into and out of Germany had to be cancelled. An additional 104 flights in Belgium, 20 in the UK and Ireland and 22 in Sweden had to be grounded, affecting thousands of customers across the continent.
The majority of the services that were grounded in Berlin Schöenefeld, Gothenburg and Stockholm Skavsta, as well as many services being affected in UK airports including Manchester and Stansted. Other cancellations were seen on flights between Gatwick, Birmingham and Bristol, and Dublin in Ireland.
On the fifth day of the five day strike action, both sides have now agreed to third-party negotitations to resolve the ongoing dispute over working conditions. Union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), which is representing workers in Germany who are demanding better pay and working condition, said: “Ryanair alone is responsible for the escalation that has now occurred. VC regrets the impact on affected passengers, cabin crew and ground crew.”
Ryanair said in a tweet: “Despite the regrettable and unjustified strike action taking place in five of our 37 markets, over 2,000 Ryanair flights will operate as normal, carrying almost 400,000 passengers across Europe. We ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling any more unjustified strikes.”
The airline added “There may be a push for legacy type working conditions, which if acceded to could decrease the productivity of pilots, increase costs and have an adverse effect on profitability. Ryanair intends to retain its low-fare/high people productivity model. However, there may be periods of labour unrest as unions challenge the existing high-productivity model which may have an adverse effect on customer sentiment and profitability.”
The International Transport Workers’ Federation, which is coordinating a number of strikes across Europe, said: “Ryanair has a long way to go before it can be considered a fair employer. Calls for industrial action will continue until the company makes good collective bargaining agreements with unions.”