Ryanair strike affects thousands flying between UK and Ireland

The carrier cancelled 30 out of 290 Irish flights amid pilots’ industrial action

Around 5,000 passengers had their flights cancelled on Thursday 12 July as a quarter of Ryanair’s Ireland-based pilots proceeded with industrial action.

Europe’s largest budget carrier was forced to cancel flights between Ireland and the United Kingdom, namely flights to and from Gatwick along with four linking Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle with Dublin. Round trips to Stansted and Glasgow were also grounded.

Members of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association, a branch of the Fórsa union, are in dispute with Ryanair over the working conditions of Irish pilots. Despite accepting an invitation to a company meeting on Wednesday, the union did not call the action off and around 25 per cent of Irish pilots walked out.

“Despite offering to meet our pilots and the Fórsa union at a neutral venue on Wednesday at 10am, the union has confirmed again today that they expect Thursdays strike by 27 per cent of our Irish pilots to go ahead. We regrettably must plan for some disruptions on Thursday, and try to minimise their impact, especially upon Irish customers and their families travelling on holidays to Portugal, France, Spain, Italy and Greece,” Ryanair said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We will do this by cancelling a number of flights on high frequency routes from Ireland to London and other UK province destinations where customers can transfer readily to other flights on Thursday or switch their travel to earlier flights tomorrow (Wednesday) or later on Friday, Saturday or subsequent days.”

Today, the carrier posted on Twitter that they “respect but regret the decision of 25 per cent of our Irish pilots to go on strike, but believe that they should take up our offer of working groups so we can resolve these issues.”

Later they wrote in another tweet that the first wave of 26 Dublin-based aircraft departed without disruptions.

The carrier is about to undergo another set of industrial actions. Cabin crew in Belgium, Portugal and Italy will strike on cabin crew in Belgium and Portugal are planning 48-hour strikes on 25 and 26 July and their colleges in Italy will join on 25 July with a 24-hour walkout.

The The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), who represent cabin crew, released a statement of support for the pilots’ strike.

This said: “The IALPA has been demanding fair treatment for Ryanair pilots for over a decade. In December 2017, facing strikes over the Christmas period, the company finally agreed to recognise trade unions for the first time. This move was supposed to mark a new era of industrial relations at Ryanair.

“Yet, six months on, there have been no concrete improvements in pay or working conditions for any Ryanair workers. It is a sign of the company’s failure to deliver real change that pilots in its home country must resort to industrial action to make their voices heard.

“One day after the IALPA strike announcement, cabin crew published a Ryanair Crew Charter outlining their demands. Rather than engaging with crew in good faith, the company immediately denounced the charter as “pointless”. ITF/ETF affiliates in four other countries have announced cabin crew strike action for 25 and 26 July.

“The ITF and the ETF support all lawful industrial action undertaken by their affiliates in an effort to win a fair deal for Ryanair workers.”