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Ryanair cabin crew resume strike and will coincide with weekend Easyjet protest

20 flights canceled at Barcelona - El Prat airport

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30 June 2022 08:56 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Ryanair cabin crew in Spain resumed their strike on Thursday morning for the second weekend of protests against poor working conditions.

The action will last for three days until Saturday, and comes after three other days of strike action last weekend, from June 24 to 26. So far, no more protests have been announced for this summer. 

The Spanish government has set obligatory minimum services for employees ranging between 36% and 80% at Catalan airports. 

In Barcelona’s El Prat airport, 80% of the journeys have to be guaranteed for destinations outside the Iberian Peninsula. Meanwhile, for other flights that require a five or more hour journey that have an alternative means of transport, the minimum services have been set at 58%, and for those under five hours by car or train, 36% of the flights have to be guaranteed. 

In Girona, the same percentage has been established for the shortest flights, while 53% of the journeys have to fly their longer routes. 

The USO and Sitcpla trade unions are behind the protest, and a top official for the former said on Wednesday that Ryanair is "stepping on their right to strike" by obliging employees to provide 100% of the usual services regardless of the official minimum services.

USO's secretary general for Ryanair, Lidia Arasanz, said employees have to deal with the airline's "coercion and threats." 

"It is totally illegal," she said, adding that pilots have been told that they have to force cabin crew to stay for the following flight. 

20 flights canceled on Thursday

The strike has forced Ryanair to cancel 20 flights from Barcelona-El Prat airport as of 8 pm on Thursday, according to USO.

They were supposed to depart from the Catalan infrastructure flying to Billund, in Denmark, Kraków in Poland, and Paris Beauvais airport, as well as Brussels Charleroi, Naples, and Malaga, among others.

According to the union, 24 departing flights and 26 arrivals were delayed in Barcelona, while two departures and seven arrivals at Girona airport arrivals were delayed. 

Overall in Spain, a total of 54 flights have been canceled.

Ryanair says the impact of the protest has been "minimum," only 3% of the scheduled services.

40 flights canceled on first weekend of protest

Between Friday to Sunday last week, more than 40 flights to and from Catalan airports were canceled. 

Barcelona's El Prat was the most affected airport in Catalonia, but Girona-Costa Brava in the north and Reus in southern Catalonia also saw a wave of delays and cancellations, as did other facilities across Spain and other European countries.

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."

"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, as they point out that the agreement only applies to workers who are affiliated with the CCOO trade union but the majority of Ryanair cabin crew are affiliated with USO and Sitcpla. 

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.

"In addition to negotiating an agreement without the unions representing staff, Ryanair is still not applying Spanish labor law," a USO statement adds, detailing that cabin crew are still not entitled to bank holidays in lieu, they have problems requesting a reduction in working hours, they do not receive salaries in the legally required format, and they cannot drink water on planes.

Easyjet strike

The USO union has also called for EasyJet airlines’ cabin crew in Spain to go on strike for nine days over three weekends in July. Staff are set to stop working on July 1 to 3, 15 to 17, and 29 to 31, meaning that both companies will see employees' protests for July 1 and 2.

In a statement, USO condemned the "blocked impasse" that the collective faces in Easyjet. The union wants workers to have salaries similar to other company staff based in other European countries such as Germany or France.

"The company does not have any interest in improving working conditions of the Spanish cabin crew," the union claims. There are over 450 cabin crew members called to strike, including those at the Barcelona El Prat airport.

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

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

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