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Air transport: strike calls are increasing as summer approaches

The European sky is darkening a little more as the summer season approaches with the proliferation of strike calls in several airlines where employees, under pressure from the sudden resumption of traffic, are demanding an improvement in their working conditions. work.

Within weeks, unions in five countries have called on Ryanair workers to strike next weekend. Spain, France, Belgium, Portugal, Italy: everywhere the hostesses and stewards (PNC) are demanding respect for labor law and wage increases as the Irish company prepares for a flourishing summer with activity greater than that of 2019.

In France, “the company does not respect the rest times as provided for by the civil aviation code”, said the representative of the National Union of Commercial Flight Crew (SNPNC) Damien Mourgues. His union is also asking for a salary increase for employees who are “paid at minimum wage”. Two days of strike have been announced for Saturday and Sunday in France by the SNPC, union of hostesses and stewards.

In Spain, the USO and SITCPLA unions are calling on the Irish company’s cabin crew to go on strike at the start of the summer, and more precisely on June 24, 25, 26 and 30 as well as July 1 and 2. In Portugal, Ryanair staff are also called to mobilize from June 24 to 26 to protest against the deterioration of working conditions, as in Belgium. The company assured Tuesday that it did not expect “major disruptions”.

Low-cost airlines are particularly affected

The anger also affects EasyJet since the Union Syndicale Ouvrier (USO) is planning a nine-day strike in July at the airports of Barcelona, ​​Malaga and Mallorca in the Balearic Islands. This movement will result in walkouts from Friday to Sunday for three of the four weekends in July, the USO said.

Only July 23 and 24 remain spared at this stage. According to the USO, “EasyJet’s flight crew in Spain currently have a base salary of 950 euros” per month, the “lowest salary” of “all bases in Europe”.

The company wanted to “reassure its customers” on Tuesday, assuring that all its flights are maintained this weekend and that it “will do everything to avoid disruptions”. However, if the action is maintained, EasyJet expects “some disruption” to its flights from these Spanish airports.

On June 12 and 13, a strike had already caused the cancellation of a quarter of Ryanair’s program in France, ie around forty flights. Michael O’Leary, the general manager of Ryanair, brushed aside the proliferation of these social movements organized at the initiative of “Mickey” unions, in his words.

Industry professionals warn of looming ‘chaotic’ summer

Ryanair pilots have decided to join their cabin crew colleagues and in turn called to stop work from Friday. The staff of the national company Brussels Airlines, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, are on strike from Thursday for three days.

Low-cost airlines are experiencing a dazzling rebound in activity since the lifting of restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. With the rapid resumption of traffic, many companies find themselves forced to cancel flights due to lack of staff.

At airports, staff shortages are also causing serial cancellations and lengthening queues. At Paris-Charles de Gaulle, employees are called upon to stop working from July 1. On Monday, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) warned in an open letter that “the chaos facing the airline industry will only worsen throughout the summer as workers are pushed to their limits”.


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