Unions in four European countries, including Belgium, on Monday denounced the attitude of Ryanair toward cabin staff who had gone on strike in Portugal in early April and threatened fresh strike action if their demands are not met. The low-cost carrier had taken disciplinary action against striking cabin staff and other workers who had refused to be used as strikebreakers. In late April, unions representing the airline’s workers in Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain had issued an ultimatum, giving the carrier up to the 30th of June to agree to respect national labour laws. They also called on Ryanair to begin negotiations with representatives of each signatory union and to apply the same terms and working conditions for all cabin staff. Further, the organisations warned that, in the absence of a positive response from management, they would take coordinated action, which could include strikes, in summer 2018.
The unions met on Wednesday last in Madrid to study Ryanair’s responses and exchange their legal analyses and reiterated their will to organize strikes in summer if the Irish airline did not accept their demands. In that case, they will hold a new meeting in Dublin in July to organise industrial action, including strikes. A big meeting of Ryanair cabin staff will also be held on the 3rd and 4th of July in the Irish capital to press demands for equitable treatment.
However, some unions have already warned the company that they will not negotiate unless the disciplinary action against staff who went on strike is lifted. They said they were convinced that all stakeholders in Ryanair’s future as well as passengers and the media could see clearly that they were acting equitably, openly and lawfully whereas Ryanair was playing for time to avoid industrial action in summer 2018.
The Brussels Times