Europe’s largest airline, Ryanair, is facing a wave of strike action in Ireland, the UK, Spain and Portugal, over the next two months due to pay disputes and plans to shut down bases and cut jobs. Spanish trade unions representing Ryanair employees have announced ten days of strikes at 13 bases in September in protest against the company’s plan to close its bases at Gran Canaria, Tenerife South and Girona.
Unions propose stoppages on the 1st, 2nd, 6th, 8th, 13th, 15th, 20th, 22nd, 27th and 29th September. Prior to the call for a strike, as legally required in Spain, company and union leaders will meet for mediation and, following which, if there is no agreement, the convocation to go on strike will be formally presented.
A Portuguese union has filed a five-day strike notice from 21 August, over plans to close the airlines base at Faro leading to job losses their also.
The low cost giant argues that closures to the unprofitable bases, which could result in up to 1000 job losses, are necessary cost cutting measures in the face of Brexit uncertainty, the rise in the price of fuel, and the delay in the delivery of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which have been grounded following two crashes earlier this year.
Meanwhile, in a separate dispute, British pilots from the Balpa union announced work stoppages for August 22 and 23, and September 3 and 4 to demand higher wages and pension and better maternity benefits. The UK pilots will be joined by their Irish counterparts on strike over the same issues on August 22-44.
Unions argue that despite the company’s difficulty Ryanair still made a net profit of more than 1 billion euros last year and can afford to ensure the pay and benefits of its employees meet industry standards.