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European aviation sees more disruption as widespread strikes loom

written by Hannah Dowling | July 4, 2022

Ryanair’s 737 MAX 8200 (Woody’s Aeroimages)

European travellers could see more disruption to their travel plans as airline and airport workers across the continent prepare to strike, lobbying for better pay and working conditions in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.

The global aviation industry continues to struggle under critical staff shortages, causing a rise in flight cancellations along with long queues and mountains of lost baggage in airports.

In Spain, Ryanair cabin crew plan to strike for 12 more days throughout July in order to demand better working conditions, with strikes scheduled between July 12–15, July 18–21, and July 25–28.

Announcing the strike plans, the USO and SICTPLA unions called on Ryanair to come back to the negotiating table on issues such as minimum wage.

“The unions and crew of Ryanair … demand a change of attitude from the airline,” the unions said in a joint statement, and urged the Spanish government “not to allow Ryanair to violate labour legislation and constitutional rights such as the right to strike”.

Ryanair played down the possible industrial action, calling the strike, which spans 10 Spanish airports, “minor and poorly supported”.

In a statement, the airline also said it expected “minimal” impact on its flight schedules throughout July in result.

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Meanwhile, in Paris, airport workers at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport have said they will stage another strike between July 8 to 10, just one week after their last walk-out.

According to the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) union, the airport’s management had offered ground staff a 4 per cent pay rise if they cease strike actions, however workers rejected the offer.

“A majority of workers think the offer is not good enough,” said Daniel Bertone, representing the CGT. “They don’t trust management and they don’t accept the ‘it’s this or nothing’ blackmail.”

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In Scandinavia, nearly 1,000 SAS pilots from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have agreed to delay any strike plans until Monday, in order to give the airline another opportunity to negotiate on wages and conditions.

However, the unions said pilots will plan to strike should the airline fail to negotiation meaningfully.

The airline has said over 30,000 passengers could be stranded per day should a strike begin.

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