Ryanair cabin crew begin five-month strike after weeks of summer disruptions

Scores of flights have been called off throughout July as workers fight for better conditions

Ryanair workers on strike outside Barcelona airport, June 2022 (by Laura Busquets)
Ryanair workers on strike outside Barcelona airport, June 2022 (by Laura Busquets) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 8, 2022 01:45 PM

Ryanair cabin crew have started a new five-month strike on Monday, set to last until January 7, 2023.

The five-month period of industrial action comes after weeks of disruptions causing scores of flight cancellations and even more delays in airports across Catalonia and Europe. 

The new strike has been called because "Ryanair has not shown any intention to approach unions’ demands, but the opposite, as it has rejected any move to negotiate," a press release shared by the trade unions backing the workers, USO and Sitcpla, reads.

There are three main reasons why they are continuing with the protests. Unions call for Ryanair to "follow minimum regulations under Spanish labor and unions law," rehire 11 workers who were "fired during the strikes from June and July because they stopped working as protected by their constitutional rights," and "put an end to ongoing sanctions to over 100 employees due to the strikes," the unions demanded.

New Ryanair cabin crew strike

This new wave of stoppages will last 24 hours a day from Monday to Thursday each week until early January if there is no kind of agreement between the company and the convening unions. 

"Talks are completely broken. Ryanair does not want to resume negotiations on a new collective agreement that applies to all cabin crew", USO-Ryanair general secretary, Lidia Arasanz, said. 

The ministry of transport has set minimum services of between 34% and 81% at Barcelona airport, but 85% at other airports.

Between June and July, the workers’ protest saw 319 Ryanair flights connecting with Spanish airports called off, and more than 1,000 delays across all 10 bases that the Irish company has in the country.

"The company says that it has not been affected at all and this is completely false and very ugly for the hundreds of passengers affected by the cancellations and delays," the general secretary of USO-Ryanair said.

Ryanair expects "minimal impact"

The airliner has already assessed this new cabin crew strike and has assured that it foresees "minimal impact" on operations for the next five months. 

The company chaired by Michael O'Leary claims the stoppages in June and July have had "poor" support from workers and recalled that less than 1% of the 3,000 daily flights it operates throughout Europe have been affected by the strike.

Ryanair cabin crew labor dispute

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."

The union considers the measure of silencing the protest as they "have not obeyed the airline's illegal rules," a statement from the USO union read. 

They also claim that many of the conditions agreed upon are actually based on court rulings won against the company, such as the salary increase of €1,000 in 2022 and €800 for 2023, as well as the fixed schedule of 5 days' work and three days' rest.

EasyJet call strike off after agreement

In late July, EasyJet cabin crew announced an end to their industrial action after the company and the USO trade union reached an agreement. The enterprise will increase its base salary by 22% in three years, as USO announced in a press release.

The company and the union have agreed to increase the base salary by 4% retrospectively since March 2022, by 13% in 2023, and by 5% in 2024. Overall, workers will see a 22% raise, a similar salary to other European coworkers. 

The deal also expects economic compensation when working during a day off, increasing compensations for cabin crew members from January 2023, and a pay raise when speaking a third language.