More than 40 flights canceled over weekend due to Ryanair strike
USO and Sitcpla unions call for improved working conditions
More than 40 flights to and from Catalan airports were canceled over the long Sant Joan weekend due to the Ryanair cabin crew strike.
Barcelona's El Prat was Catalonia's most affected airport, but Girona-Costa Brava and Reus, in southern Catalonia, also saw a wave of delays and cancellations, as did other facilities across Spain and other European countries.
Although the strike was set to begin on Friday, the USO union accused Ryanair of violating their right to strike by setting minimum services at 100% in Spain, meaning that delays and cancellations that day were mainly due to collective action in countries like Belgium or France.
They also accused Ryanair of bringing in workers from Morocco to cover for cabin crew members on strike in Spain.
The USO and Sitcpla unions argue that Ryanair employees are treated like "third-class workers" and call on the company to comply with "basic labor rights and court rulings."
According to them, the low-cost airline should sit down to negotiate "a collective agreement and decent working conditions for all staff."
"Ryanair is the only international company in our country without a collective workers' agreement," Lidia Arasanz, the secretary general of the USO trade union at Ryanair, said.
On May 31, the Irish company reached an agreement with the CCOO union regarding pay and working conditions that was rejected by USO and Sitcpla.
The Ryanair protest will continue from June 30 to July 2, while USO has also called on EasyJet airlines' cabin crew in Spain to go on strike for nine days over three weekends in July: 1 to 3, 15 to 17, and 29 to 31.
Consumer rights organization Facua says passengers who are affected are entitled at least €250 and a flight refund plus expenses within a week in the event of a cancelation.
European regulations, their statement reads, state that "passengers will receive compensation of €250 for flights of up to 1,500 kilometers, €400 for flights of more than 1,500 kilometers within the EU and for other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers, and €600 for all other flights"
Furthermore, a 2018 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) determined that a workers' strike is not considered to fall within "extraordinary circumstances", so the company cannot refuse compensation, the consumer rights organization said.
There are exceptions to the regulations, such as when the airline informs passengers of a cancellation "at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled departure time."
The CJEU in another ruling in May 2017 determined that the right to receive compensation is extended to those cases in which the flight is not canceled, but suffers a delay of more than three hours to its arrival time.