Ryanair strike in Spain: Cancellations could continue until January

A cabin crew strike at Ryanair in Spain, which began in June causing hundreds of flight cancellations and delays, will continue until January 2023 with regular 24-hour work stoppages, two workers' unions said Wednesday.

Ryanair strike in Spain: Cancellations could continue until January
Ryanair employees hold flyers reading "Support our strike" as they protest at the Terminal 2 of El Prat airport in Barcelona on July 1st 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

The series of rolling strikes over pay and working conditions at Ryanair in Spain – where there are some 1,900 employees — began on June 24th as European schools started breaking for the summer.

There were initially six days of planned strikes, called by the USO and SITCPLA unions, but they decided earlier this month to extend the strike until July 28.

The stoppages affect 10 Spanish airports where Ryanair has bases.

“Ryanair has not made the slightest attempt to reconcile with the unions” and “having publicly demonstrated its refusal to engage in any dialogue”, the USO and SITCPLA “are forced to extend” the strike, the unions said.

Another 24-hour strike is planned during the week starting August 8th.

Similar actions will take place “until January 7th”, a period of five months, the unions said in a statement.

The Spanish strikes are one of a series of similar walkouts in other European countries, at a time when the aviation sector hoped to move on from the Covid pandemic.

Hundreds of flights have been delayed and cancelled.

READ MORE: Ryanair strike – Which flights to and from Spain have been cancelled?

Ryanair has insisted the action has had little impact on the company’s activity in Spain. The Irish airline claims to carry the largest number of passengers in the Spanish market with more than 650 routes in the country.

Ryanair is the only international company in Spain not to have a collective agreement, the unions say.

Negotiations on working conditions with staff began eight months ago.

Discussions ended with an agreement with the CCOO union, which represents a smaller number of workers. USO and SITCPLA rejected the deal, judging it to be insufficient to meet staff’s needs.

In addition to better working conditions, the unions demand the return to work of 11 striking employees dismissed in the last month.

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EasyJet pilots strike in Spain

EasyJet's Spanish pilots walked out on Friday, calling for the reinstatement of conditions they enjoyed before the coronavirus pandemic, two weeks after a strike by the low-cost carrier's cabin crew had resulted in a deal.

EasyJet pilots strike in Spain

Easyjet’s Spanish pilots walked out on Friday, calling for the reinstatement of conditions they enjoyed before the coronavirus pandemic, two weeks after a strike by the low-cost carrier’s cabin crew had resulted in a deal.

Coming at the height of the summer tourist season, the new Easyjet stoppages will add to the problems facing the sector.

Cabin crew at budget rival Ryanair have been staging 24-hour walkouts since June, which are likely to continue until January 2023, unions said.

The Easyjet pilots, for their part, are staging a first three-day strike from Friday at the airports of Barcelona, Malaga and the Mediterranean islands of Palma de Majorca and Minorca, the SEPLA union said.

Two more three-day walkouts are planned later in August.

“This is the only possible alternative for the pilots’ representatives, after more than six months of negotiations, at which the company has rejected all proposals made,” the union said.

The airline cancelled eight flights on Friday, most of them from Barcelona, Spain’s second-busiest airport.

“During the worst months of the pandemic, we agreed to lower our salaries to guarantee not only jobs, but the survival of the company itself in Spain,” the union said.

Now, however, the company “refuses to recover the working conditions. “We are not asking for anything that we did not have two years ago,” said a union spokesman.

In late July, EasyJet said it took a sizeable financial hit from sector-wide disruptions, notably staff shortages, but still slashed quarterly losses as demand recovered.

Just days later, EasyJet cabin crews ended their strike, after reaching a deal with management to raise wages by 22 percent over three years.