'Will achieve nothing': Ryanair HR manager denies impact of staff strikes

'Will achieve nothing': Ryanair HR manager denies impact of staff strikes
Credit: Belga

While Ryanair strikes have created chaos and impacted thousands of travellers in Belgium, the company’s management is diminishing the impact of the strike.

In the week of 24 to 26 June, over 180 Ryanair flights were cancelled due to cabin staff strikes, as the entire fleet was grounded during the three-day strike.

The Christian trade union says there is no longer any need to resort to it, as the lack of personnel will naturally impose more and more flight cancellations, Le Soir writes.

‘Unnecessary strikes’

Following the chaos and inconvenience caused to thousands of passengers, Ryanair’s HR manager Darrell Hughes has written to the company’s staff in Belgium.

“These unnecessary strikes resulted in the cancellation of our base traffic, but over 60% of our flights were unaffected,” Hughes writes. “These strikes will achieve nothing and will only serve to cost you money and delay the outcome of your working conditions.”

Hughes claims the Belgian union's demand for a 29% wage increase would violate the wage margin set by the sectoral committee under Belgian law. "Perhaps you should ask your stewards why they are calling a strike in pursuit of a compensation demand that could not legally be implemented…”

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Ryanair does not seem impressed by the large strikes, nor likely to change course in its treatment of employees. The company reminded employees that the strikes barely affected 2% of its activity, out of more than 2,500 flights per day.

Regarding Belgium, Hughes specified: “No progress can be made with a union that goes on strike first and then seeks to negotiate. We are dependent on passenger bookings. Strikes only keep passengers away and end up hurting the market share we have in Belgium.”

“If your delegates are determined to destroy this, that’s their business, but it will ultimately mean less money in your pockets and/or lead management to make some tough economic decisions as we prepare our winter 2022 calendar and summer 2023 in Belgium,” he wrote.

Union’s response

Staff based in Belgium have yet to analyse the results of the strike and decide on any further action. For Didier Lebbe, permanent secretary of the Christian union, the use of new actions in the form of a strike is not the only means of action.

He explains that the proliferation of strikes could make the company so unpopular, that flights will have to be cancelled for a lack of personnel. “No need to strike: they will have to cancel flights themselves.”

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