Pilots’ strike “unnecessary” and “by a small minority”, Ryanair claim
Ryanair have been forced to ground 16 flights from Ireland because pilots have gone on a one-day strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.
2,500 travellers were affected by the action that began at 1am last night.
It is the third strike by pilots, and the first of three to hit Ryanair this week.
The action is being carried out by pilots who wish to see rostering, leave and other working arrangements improved.
Fórsa, the union who represent Ryanair’s Ireland-based pilots said no meetings had taken place between management and workers despite an offer being made on Friday.
Ryanair disputed this in a statement issued over Twitter. It said: “We’re available to meet Fórsa at any time.”
Over the next two days, 25 and 26 July, Ryanair’s cabin crew in Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Italy will also down tools. This has already led to the cancellation of 600 flights, affecting 100,000 passengers.
Ryanair has come out swinging over the past few days, claiming that if strikes continue it will begin to cut its fleet and jobs.
In their quarterly earnings report, Ryanair said: “If these unnecessary strikes continue to damage customer confidence and forward prices/yields in certain country markets then we will have to review our winter schedule, which may lead to fleet reductions at disrupted bases and job losses in markets where competitor employees are interfering in our negotiations with our people and their unions.
“We cannot allow our customers’ flights to be unnecessarily disrupted by a tiny minority of pilots.”
A spokesperson for Fórsa responded: “This kind of threatening statement is not conducive to building trust and reaching a resolution to the dispute, and Fórsa doesn’t accept that jobs or expansion in the airline need be put at risk by company management.”
Ryanair’s earnings report showed that its profits had fallen by 20 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
They have also been hit today by air traffic control strikes in Germany, France and Croatia, which led to delays on 45 flights – 10 per cent of this morning’s departures.