Ryanair says it has been ‘forced’ to cancel nearly 400 flights to and from Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Ireland for this Friday (10 August) as pilots in the countries prepare to go on strike.
Members of the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union told Ryanair last week it would have until 6 August to submit a “workable proposal” to meet their demands or else they would give 24 hours’ notice of a strike.
The airline is now chastising VC for ‘refusing to five seven days’ notice’ to allow it to minimise disruption to passengers.
As a result, Ryanair has cancelled 250 of the 2,400 scheduled to operate on the day.
The Irish carrier is also facing strikes on the same day from pilots in Belgium, Sweden and Ireland. It has cancelled 104 flights to and from Belgium, 22 in Sweden and 20 in Ireland.
It says all affected passengers have been given the option to change to a different flight or request a full refund.
Last week, flight compensation firm Airhelp claimed Ryanair is flouting the law by saying it did not have to provide compensation for flights cancelled by strikes.
Paloma Salmeron, passenger rights specialist at Airhelp, said: “The decisions of the European Court of Justice are binding for all courts in the EU, and apply to everybody in the same way – even if you are Ryanair. Affected passengers should not let themselves be deceived by Ryanair’s false statement, as all strikes of airline staff are not considered to be extraordinary circumstances anymore, which would free the airline from their obligation to financial compensation of up to €600 per passenger.”
Ryanair says it has written to the Irish Forsa union to suggest third-party mediation to settle a dispute over the carrier’s process for base transfers and promotions, among other pilot demands.
In response to the latest strike announcement in Germany, chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “We regret the decision of the VC to go ahead with this unnecessary strike action given that we sent through a revised proposal on a collective labour agreement (on Friday, 3 August) and stated our intention to work towards achieving a CLA together. We also invited VC to meet us on Tuesday (7 August) but they did not respond to this invitation.”
The airline has struggled with strikes since agreeing to recognise unions in December 2017, with cabin crew staging their own walk-outs on top of the pilot strikes. It announced in July that it would cut its Dublin fleet due to threats from industrial action, putting up to 300 jobs at risk.