Ryanair braces for biggest ever one-day strike

Kenny Jacobs Ryanair’s chief marketing officer at a news conference in Germany yesterday

Kenny Jacobs Ryanair’s chief marketing officer at a news conference in Germany yesterday

Nearly 400 flights have been grounded across Europe, with that figure set to rise sharply with pilots in the Netherlands deciding to join the walkout yesterday.

The action is the largest in a series of strikes over pay and conditions.

The airline has been grappling with staff unrest since it recognised trade unions for the first time in December 2017, in a bid to ward off widespread strikes over the Christmas period.

But unions say little progress has been made on their demands for better wages and fairer contracts despite months of talks.

"After a year of negotiations, the failure of Ryanair to recognise Sepla and apply Spanish labour legislation for the pilots who operate in Spain forces the union to take a legal path to attain this objective", the union said.

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Ryanair operates more than 2,000 flights a day, serving 223 airports across 37 countries in Europe and North Africa, and insists it will not change the low-priced model that transformed the industry and has made it Europe's most profitable airline. The 396 flights represent about 17 per cent of the airline's 2,400 scheduled journeys.

A Dutch court on Thursday evening rejected a case from Ryanair seeking to block pilots in the Netherlands from joining the strike, affecting about 22 flights.

Ryanair has issued a statement on the strike, calling it "unnecessary".

Ryanair has described the strike action as "regrettable and unjustified", claiming its pilots are paid more than other budget airlines.

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