Crews of Ryanair are going on a strike and forced the airline to cancel up to 600 flights. This will affect thousands of travelers.
The low-cost Irish carrier has canceled flights in Belgium, Portugal, and Spain because of the planned strike of its staff over pay and work conditions in the mentioned countries.
According to a statement, the 100,000 passengers who will be affected have been offered alternative flights and re-accommodation, or a full refund.
The cabin crew in Italy are also on strike; however, the activity would not affect the "Italian-based schedule," reported a spokesman.
According to Ryanair, 27 percent of its flights to and from Portugal will be affected, as well as 31 percent from Belgium, and 24 percent from Spain. It adds up to around 12 percent of the flights all over the continent.
The two-day staff demonstration is the newest in a series of strikes for the low-cost airline. Ryanair started recognizing unions late last year after a string of employee demonstrations caused canceled flights, which put its operation in trouble. Additionally, Ryanair pilots in Ireland are striking as well.
According to the list of 34 demands issued by the airline's employees, they want a fair wage that mirrors the amount of work that they do. Other highlighted requests touch on seniority pay, compensation for interrupted schedules, an end to additional costs incurred by its cabin crew, which include uniforms, food, and even water while they are on duty.
Furthermore, the unions in the four countries are requesting for its staff to be employed according to the national legislation of the country they are in, instead of being under Ireland, which is currently the case they are in. Its crew also wants a fair and universal pension scheme.
The document gives away some of the employment practices of the airline. Its staff stated that the company should work towards the eradication of agency employment and give employment contracts in the language spoken by the crew.
The charter also called for the airline to preserve minimum rest periods that reflect the European Aviation Safety Agency regulation.
The budget airline's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said that the strikes are unjustified and it will attain nothing other than disrupt family holidays and benefit its rival airlines in Spain, Portugal, and Belgium.
Jacobs also said that the cabin crew already enjoy a great pay of up to $47,000 annually, generous sales commissions, sick pay, and even uniform allowances.
The staff demands Ryanair to recognize unions for cabin crews and pilots, and for it to negotiate with the representative chosen by the alliance and not by the company.