More Ryanair strikes in Belgium and France on 23 and 24 July

More Ryanair strikes in Belgium and France on 23 and 24 July
Ryanair planes at Brussels South Airport. Credit: Belga/ CHRISTOPHE LICOPPE

Ryanair pilots will once again hold a strike at the end of this month as negotiations between unions and the budget airline's management on improving working conditions make no further headway.

Ten days into the school holidays, this year's summer is quickly becoming one of continuous strikes, having a major impact on Europe's aviation sector and travel plans during the busiest period of the year. While Brussels Airlines has cancelled hundreds of flights to and from Belgium to cut staff workloads, Ryanair continues to push ahead with more aggressive tactics.

"The Belgian and French pilots will be on strike on 23 and 24 July, for the same reasons as during the previous strikes (24, 25 and 26 June)," Didier Lebbe, permanent secretary of the CNE, told The Brussels Times.

"The reasons are always the same: the non-respect of legislation. But since the last strikes, the attitude of Ryanair's management has become even more contemptuous and arrogant," Lebbe added.

Although it is not clear exactly how many pilots will be taking part in the strikes, many took part in the most recent ones, and the impact on the routes between Belgium and France – most popular in summer times – is expected to be significant.

Fractious negotiations

The company's latest troubles are a continuation of failed negotiations which first resulted in unions issuing a strike notice in April this year.

At the time, unions cited poor working conditions, Ryanair’s stalling of talks regarding a new labour agreement and its failure to comply with the Belgian labour law as the primary reasons.

In addition, unions state that pilots' June salaries have not been properly indexed. Negotiations have deteriorated and tensions have been amplified, Lebbe says.

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Just one month ago, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary, who has a reputation for dismissing unions and strike notices, said that he expects little disruption to flights during the summer months. Yet his attempts to reassure passengers have come to nothing, with strikes continuing to wreak havoc.

It is unclear whether cabin crew will also strike, as negotiations are still ongoing on that side. Ryanair was contacted regarding the impact of these strikes on passengers but failed to respond before this article's publication.

Passengers whose flights are cancelled or are facing significant delays due to the strikes are eligible for a refund and should be given options for alternative flights. Find out what your rights are here.

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