Ryanair cabin crew from four European countries, including Portugal, are to mount a 48-hour strike later in July in a move that will cause severe disruption for holidaymakers.
Cabin crew and ground staff from Portugal, Spain, Italy and Belgium are withdrawing their labour on July 25 and 26, blaming Ryanair management’s failure to address a list of demands about economic safety, rostering and workplace culture.
The Ryanair Crew Charter contains demands from staff at the airline’s 86 bases in 21 countries.
In a typically combative stance, Ryanair described the demands as “pointless” and insists that its staff already enjoy good conditions of employment - “competitive, if not better, than those offered by rivals.”
Ryanair claims its cabin crew earn up to €40,000 annually; work a fixed five-on/three-off roster; and an annual uniform allowance of €400.
In December 2017, Ryanair said it would start to deal with unions, thus breaking a long tradition of ignoring them completely, but appears to have made little progress despite the airline’s need for pilots to fly its aircraft and onboard staff to sell its scratch cards.
The four unions representing Ryanair cabin crew issued a joint statement, "We call on the European Commission and the governments of every European country where Ryanair operates, to act upon the social dumping performed by the Irish low cost carrier and to enforce the EU employment and national imperative legislation."
The International Transport Workers’ Federation said the company simply has not engaged in meaningful talks about working conditions.
The Federation’s director of campaigns, Liz Blackshaw, said, “No progress has been made, despite Ryanair claiming to be in talks with unions across Europe. Ryanair needs to sit down with the unions they’ve been talking with and actually address the conditions of work being complained about and address the charter.”
Staff and unions also want to see an end to agency employment, the awarding of sick pay, and an end to sales targets for in-flight products such as scratch cards that nobody wants to buy unless they are inebriated.