Ryanair pilots based in France and Belgium have announced a strike on 23-24 July, as issues on local labour legislation and minimum wage remain unresolved between the unions and management.
Although the airline’s CEO Michael O’Leary has previously expressed confidence about the summer season, dismissing the idea that there were any issues related to the salaries of the company’s staff, Ryanair has in fact been facing industrial unrest for some time. Cabin crew and pilots resorted to strike action to show their dissatisfaction with management at the end of last month, as well as at the end of April.
We are also demonstrating following the company’s contemptuous and arrogant behaviour in the face of the social discontent in June.Didier Lebbe, representative of the Christian trade union CNE
Since then, unions say, nothing has changed and management remains ignorant to staff concerns. The pilots’ demands remain unchanged, however they are more infuriated at the lack of action from the airline. While cabin crew also took part in the previous strikes, it is still to decide whether or not to participate again this time.
Just like the previous demonstrations, employees are asking for the local Belgian labour laws to be respected, specifically for minimum wage to be assured for everyone. This time the strike has also been fuelled by the fact that “the adaptation of wages to the cost of living in June did not take place”, according to the representative for the Christian trade union (CNE) Didier Lebbe.
Moreover, although it has been promised for some time, a Belgium-based Human Resources department is still missing. Having HR staff familiar with local law is crucial for respecting the social rights of employees, but, Lebbe says, Ryanair remains “contemptuous and arrogant” in talks about the needs of its crew.
The strike will undoubtably cause delays and cancellations, although a list has not yet been provided. This sparks another criticism from the unions towards O’Leary, who recently told the Irish Daily that only 25 Ryanair flights had been cancelled in recent months, whereas, Lebbe says, on a single day of strikes, as many as 450 flights were cancelled. Despite the strikes, Ryanair remains one of the least affected by the aviation chaos that has taken over Europe.