Easyjet and Ryanair strikes force cancellation of 30 active flights

Passengers waiting after cancellations at Barcelona’s El Prat airport. / Efe

This Friday coincided the stoppages of the cabin crew of the two airlines, who are asking to improve their salary conditions

Edurne Martinez

The situation at airports across Europe will be very complicated this summer. In addition to the lack of staff after the layoffs of the pandemic, there is the very high demand and the strikes. In Spain, Ryanair and Easyjet cabin crew (TCP) stops are causing traffic jams at some airports.

This Friday, in full operation since mid-July, the TCP strikes of the two airlines coincided. There were 30 flight cancellations and 242 delays. Concretely, 22 cancellations of flights operated by Ryanair and eight by Easyjet, according to sources from the USO, the convening union.

Through these strikes, Ryanair crew members are demanding that the airline return to the negotiating table to sign the first collective agreement and obtain “the same labor rights as the rest of Spanish workers”. However, from the USO they denounce the dismissal of eight TCPs since the start of the protests for “not having obeyed the illegal orders of the airline”. The company, for its part, responds that these crew members “ignored” the legal obligation to operate the concerted flights in minimum service. The next strike days will be July 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27 and 28.

On the Easyjet side, the following conferences are scheduled for July 16, 17, 29, 30 and 31. The workers denounce the blocking of the negotiation of the second collective agreement, where the union demands an increase of around 40% of the basic salary, currently at 950 euros. Miguel Galán, general coordinator of USO-Easyjet, assured the media that the company “categorically refuses” dialogue for the moment.

The airline, which for now stands by its decision not to raise workers’ wages in 2022, told customers it would do “everything possible” to minimize disruption. Additionally, they claim to have proposed a 13% salary increase from January 1, 2023 which was “rejected”.

«ERTE has allowed that in Spain there is no shortage of staff at airports as in other countries»

The airline assured customers it would do “everything possible” to minimize disruption. But for now he is sticking to his decision not to raise the floor for cabin crew in 2022, although he claims to have proposed a 13% salary increase from January 1, 2023 which was “rejected” by the union.

The Director General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission, Henrik Hololei, acknowledged a few days ago that “there is no easy or quick solution” to airport congestion and that a summer ” very complicated” awaits us all over Europe. For his part, the Minister of Transport,
Raquel Sánchez, pointed out in an interview with this newspaper that the summer in Spain will be “very positive” and that the problems that occur in other countries will not affect Spanish airports so much because “Aena acts in a very solvent way” and ERTE has managed to maintain staff in his post-pandemic job.

Europe cancels 16,000 flights in August

These problems of strikes and understaffing that clog airports have meant that European airlines have already canceled 15,800 flights for the month of August, or 2% of the total schedule and 60% of operations worldwide, according to Cyrium .

The airline that offered the most cancellations was Turkish Airlines, with 4,408 fewer flights. It is followed by British Airways (3,600 cancellations), Easyjet (2,045), Lufthansa (1,888) and Wizz Air (1,256). These cancellations are mainly due to the lack of staff due to the reductions in staff linked to the pandemic, but there are also protests similar to those in Spain.

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