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article imageRyanair says cancelling 190 flights over Friday strike

By AFP     Sep 25, 2018 in Travel

Ryanair will cancel 190, or eight percent, of its flights due Friday when cabin crews strike across Europe, the Irish no-frills airline said Tuesday, attacking rivals for the disruption.

The carrier said 30,000 customers would likely be affected by the walk-outs in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

"Ryanair sincerely regrets these unnecessary customer disruptions, which have been called by unions at the behest of competitor airline employees," the Dublin-based airline said in a statement.

"In Spain, a Norwegian airline cabin crew member in Alicante is driving the strike, in Portugal a TAP cabin crew is calling for strikes without the support of our Portuguese cabin crew, and in Italy... this threatened strike has been called by a tiny union which has no recognition or support among our Italian cabin crew," it added.

Last month, Ryanair pilots across Europe staged a coordinated 24-hour strike to push their demands for better pay and conditions, plunging tens of thousands of passengers into transport chaos at the peak of the busy summer season.

In July, strikes by cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.

Unions have claimed that Friday's 24-hour stoppage will be the biggest strike in the Irish carrier's history.

Ryanair staff have been seeking higher wages and an end to the practice whereby many have been working as independent contractors without the benefits of staff employees.

Another key complaint of workers based in countries other than Ireland is the fact that Ryanair has been employing them under Irish legislation.

Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.

"Ryanair has made significant progress in recent weeks with our union negotiations, which include pilot and/or cabin crew agreements in Ireland, UK, Italy and Germany," the airline added Tuesday.

Ryanair has this week signed deals with cabin crew unions in Italy to provide employment contracts under Italian law.

"We sincerely apologise to those customers affected by these unnecessary strikes on Friday, which we have done our utmost to avoid, given that we have already offered these unions recognition agreements, collective labour agreements, and a move to local contracts/law in 2019," Ryanair's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said in Tuesday's statement.

"These repeated unnecessary strikes are damaging Ryanair’s business and our customer confidence at a time when oil prices are rising strongly, and if they continue, it is inevitable that we will have to look again at our capacity growth this winter and in summer 2019," he warned.

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