Ryanair is facing its biggest strike yet on Friday, when pilots in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and Sweden plan to hold a coordinated 24-hour stoppage to demand better working conditions.
Nearly 400 flights have been grounded across Europe, with that figure set to rise sharply with pilots in the Netherlands deciding to join the walkout yesterday.
Ryanair pilots in several European countries are staging a strike that has prompted the budget carrier to cancel 400 flights.
Europe's largest low-priced airline recognized unions in December, but talks have so far failed to produce agreements on improved working conditions, or for contracts to be governed by the laws of the country where workers are based, rather than by Irish legislation.
Germany will be the country most affected by the strike with 250 flight cancellations across ten airports. The strike is the eighth this year and comes at the peak of...
But Ryanair insisted in a statement that 'there will be no cancellations (of flights to and from the Netherlands) as a result of the unnecessary strike action by the Dutch pilot union'. Refunds or rerouted journeys have been offered to the people concerned.
In June Ryanair signed an agreement with the Unite union, giving hundreds of cabin crew employees full consultation rights and collective bargaining.
Unions have strongly condemned what they see as Ryanair's attempts to play countries off against each other.
The unions want the contracts of Ryanair employees to be governed by the laws of the nation where they are based, not by Irish legislation.
That was because the strikes were hurting bookings, Ryanair said, and although it was too early to assess the impact elsewhere, it added that the action will hit average fares from having to move customers to flights it could otherwise have sold at a high last-minute price.
Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.
A spokesman said that despite the walkouts, 85% of Ryanair's scheduled flights, more than 2,000, would operate as normal.
The Spanish pilots' union - which represents around 500 of the 800 Ryanair pilots in Spain - says it is going to sue the airline after a year of failed talks.
The European Trade Union Confederation welcomed the cross-border action by the pilots, saying it made it harder for management to ignore the pilots' demands.
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