Eamonn Holmes labels travel chaos 'a shambles'
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Cabin crews for the budget airlines could stage walkouts (through exits here, here and here) from August 8 to January 7 as they demand higher pay and better conditions. It comes as many holiday plans have already been affected by strikes on the UK’s rail network, as well as industrial action by workers for other air carriers.
A spokesperson for the Spanish trade union USO said it had called on workers to strike every week for the remainder of the year – including through the busy August and September travel periods.
Spanish cabin crews for Ryanair have already stayed on the ground for several days in July – mainly on weekends.
The industrial action caused disruption at many Spanish airports. An estimated 18 million Britons travelled to Spain in 2019.
The latest strike day in July caused ten Ryanair flights and 266 delays throughout the day, the union said.
It estimates that since the strikes began in June, it had caused 285 flights to be wiped off departure boards – affecting 50,000 passengers.
The union claimed that the Irish company had fired eight workers for participating in industrial action and had opened a further 70 disciplinary proceedings.
Last week, a USO spokesperson said the union was demanding “that the company sit down with us again to close a collective agreement”.
The union has also taken strike action against EasyJet, another budget airline which ferries holidaymakers to popular Spanish destinations. Three more days of industrial action are expected at the end of July.
Miguel Galán, USO coordinator for EasyJet, said earlier this month: “They had to respond to our proposals from the previous week at the negotiating table.
“The answer was that they kept their last offer as the only and final one, assuming a rise of €0 euros in 2022 for their workers, with inflation already above 10 percent.
“We are surprised to hear them outside the meetings saying that they are open to negotiations, that they are not blocking the negotiations. The minutes are there.”
He accused the British multinational of using “tricks to torpedo the strike, copying Ryanair’s practices”.
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Britain is currently facing strikes throughout the summer as National Rail workers and staff across fourteen major rail networks demand better pay and conditions – putting domestic travel plans in disarray.
Meanwhile, British Airways had been facing walk-outs from hundreds of Heathrow customer service agents this month, over an ongoing dispute concerning a 10 percent salary cut during the pandemic.
The strikes would have only added to the woes of weary travellers as airports have been crippled by a lack of staff – after many were let go in the past few years.
However, the strike has since been suspended after BA made a “vastly improved” pay offer in talks, Unite said.
A Ryanair spokesperson previously downplayed the size and effects of the strikes by cabin crew staff to Express.co.uk.
They said: “Less than one percent of Ryanair’s flights have been affected in the past month by recent minor and poorly-supported cabin crew strikes called by unions who are either not recognised by or who represent tiny numbers of Ryanair crews.
“Air Traffic Control (ATC) and airport staff shortages across Europe – which are beyond Ryanair’s control – may however cause some minor disruption and any passengers whose flights are disrupted by ATC staff shortages will be notified of their entitlements by email/SMS.”
An EasyJet spokesperson said that “there could be some disruption to our flying programme to and from Malaga, Palma and Barcelona during the strike period.
“But at this stage, EasyJet plans to operate its full schedule and we would like to reassure customers that we will do everything possible to minimise any disruption.”
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