Ryanair passengers face massive flight cancellations and delays due to pilot strike. The airline has canceled around 400 flights across europe this friday, 250 of which are in germany.
Around 55.000 customers had to rebook or have their tickets refunded, explained ryanair’s head of marketing kenny jacobs. The affected should all be notified individually by e-mail or SMS.
Previously, the union vereinigung cockpit (VC) had called all salaried pilots at ryanair’s german bases for the 10. August called for a 24-hour strike. This is scheduled for friday at 03.01 a.M. And last until saturday morning. The VC thus joined the previously announced demands of its colleagues in ireland, sweden and belgium.
Ryanair then canceled almost the entire program that was planned for friday with the aircraft based in germany. One exception is the airport of baden-baden with a good dozen flights, which the pilots there had agreed to perform.
Not all flights to and from germany are canceled, jacobs made clear. If, for example, the jet and crew come from spain, which is not on strike, the flight will take place as planned: "with around 2,000 connections, ryanair will also be the largest european airline on friday."About one in three german customers would be able to take their flight, said peter bellew, head of operations.
Jacobs sharply criticized the VC for not announcing its strike seven days in advance. "A 40-hour time limit in the middle of august only serves to destroy the vacations of innocent families."He expects flight operations to return to normal on saturday. He did not quantify the economic damage. There is certainly a certain reluctance on the part of some people to make reservations. Seats on other planes that could otherwise have been sold at a high price also had to be filled at short notice.
In general, rebooking is difficult in the high season because there are hardly any free seats available. Ryanair refuses to pay any compensation other than the ticket price or a replacement flight because the strikes were beyond the company’s control. Some air rights portals are seeking a test case on this issue.
The coordinated action in four countries is the largest pilot strike so far in the history of europe’s largest low-cost airline, which has only recognized unions since the end of 2017. Two weeks ago, flight attendants on strike in portugal, spain and belgium grounded a total of 600 flights with almost 100 passengers over two days.000 affected passengers cancelled. Among the european pilots, only the irish pilots have stopped work on four separate days so far. Ryanair had then announced the withdrawal of six jets and 300 jobs to poland.
The VC therefore demands protection against involuntary transfers. Its president martin locher accused the airline of blocking a solution at the negotiating table and bearing sole responsibility for the escalation. "Ryanair has categorically ruled out any increase in personnel costs during the negotiations. At the same time, ryanair has at no time indicated where there is room for maneuver to find a solution," explained the union representative.
He lacked the imagination how improvements for the staff could be achieved without cost increases. Ryanair needs to change the way it treats its people, said VC vice president markus wahl: "they make billions in profits every year, and the average ticket costs around 40 euros. Someone has to pay. The staff will not do it again."
According to its collective bargaining expert ingolf schumacher, the VC has not made any specific demand for money. It is calling for the first introduction of a system of salary and wage agreements: "we want to achieve a firm structure on numerous individual issues and negotiate on them with ryanair."As a yardstick, the union uses collective bargaining agreements of german airlines such as tuifly, without explicitly insisting on the salary levels mentioned there. Schumacher rejected as false allegations by ryanair management that they were demanding salary increases of more than 60 percent.
Bellew accused the VC of not having specified many of its demands. Moreover, as a charter airline that is up for sale, tuifly is the worst possible baton for ryanair.
However, according to its own statements, tuifly is not for sale. The company is changing, but will definitely maintain the low-cost business model. He is optimistic that an agreement with the union may be reached before the end of the year. In any case, pilots at ryanair were already earning better than at eurowings or norwegian. "Maybe the strike is just a necessary part of the drama," the aviation manager said.