Ryanair staff in Girona reject new reduction in pay and hours
Union says employees have given "enough signs of good faith" as low-cost airline asks for further concessions over summer
Ryanair staff of the low-cost airline's base in Girona-Costa Brava airport, in northern Catalonia, have rejected a new reduction in working hours during the summer season demanded by the company.
According to union representative Lídia Arasanz on Friday, the employees have already given "enough signs of good faith," although she also called for "caution" while waiting to hear how the Irish company responds.
Ryanair told its employees by letter that if delays in the delivery of new aircraft continue, it will be forced to cut its fleets in a number of bases, including Girona, with Arasanz wondering whether the concessions already given by employees "will be enough."
Closure averted in December
After the low-cost carrier said in August that Girona would be among four bases in Spain it was forced to close, in December some staff at the airport agreed new contracts on reduced wages and hours in exchange for the company keeping the base open.
After the negotiations, Ryanair posted a statement on its website saying that "enough employees" had signed the new contract and that Girona would stay open "under new conditions from January 1."
The latest demand for further concessions says the delay in receiving new aircraft could see a plane withdrawn from Girona, and asks the existing employees to accept cuts in working hours during the summer months or accept voluntary redundancy.
Staff "can't take any more"
However, the employees see the demand as a "new threat" and are unwilling to make further concessions, with Arasanz pointing out that staff numbers have already been cut by 25%, or 14 people, and that those who remain are "at the limit" and "can't take any more."
At the same time, the employees are waiting for March 10, which is the date set by the National Court to begin legal proceedings against Ryanair brought by unions over its most recent round of lay-offs in Spain.
Another concern for the staff is the start of the summer season, which normally begins in April but this year could start in June. In that case, the employees who earn by the hour could find themselves seriously affected.
"Some working in the Girona base don't even earn the basic wage, but only earn money per hours in flight," trade union spokesperson Arasanz explained to Catalan News.
"This means with less flights put on [if the summer season starts late], there will probably be people who won't even earn the basic minimum salary for months."