Ryanair pilots in Ireland have called a one-day strike next week, potentially disrupting flights for Europe’s biggest airline on its home territory. Flights to and from Dublin, Shannon and Cork are likely to be affected by the walkout on Wednesday.
The action by Dublin pilots comes shortly after plans by an Italian pilots union to stage the first ever pilot strike at the airline on Friday when they walk out for four hours. Portuguese pilots have voted in favour of industrial action but not yet announced a strike, while German pilots have also warned this week they could ballot for strike action too.
“Our goal is to begin wage negotiations with Ryanair” following stepped-up efforts in the past month to gain recognition by the airline, Vereinigung Cockpit President Ilja Schulz told journalists in Frankfurt. While the company has set up employee groups for discussing labor issues, pilots throughout Europe “are unanimous – they want their own representation.”
The unionization effort could disrupt flights just as the busy Christmas travel season heats up, giving Ryanair a taste of the labor hassles that legacy carriers like Deutsche Lufthansa AG have endured for years. Unions are seeking better working conditions at Ryanair, challenging a low-cost business model that helped make the Irish company the region’s biggest budget airline.
Ryanair said in a statement: "Ryanair will deal with any such disruptions if, or when they arise, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any upset or worry this threatened action by less than 28 per cent of our Dublin pilots may cause them over the coming days.
"While some disruption may occur, Ryanair believes this will largely be confined to a small group of pilots who are working their notice and will shortly leave Ryanair, so they don’t care how much upset they cause colleagues or customers."