Largest One-Day Ryanair Strike Ever Strands 55,000 Flyers on Friday
The biggest budget carrier in Europe, Ryanair, faced the worst one-day strike in its 30-year history on Friday. Pilots in five European countries walked off the job, grounding almost 400 flights during peak summer travel season.
The airline said 55,000 passengers were affected by the pilots' strike, which is protesting the low-cost airline's wages and work conditions. Ryanair pilots in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands and the airline's home base of Ireland joined Friday's demonstrations.
Passengers flying through Germany were the most affected, with 250 flights canceled there affecting 42,000 flyers in that country alone. Belgium had 104 canceled flights and Sweden and Ireland had 42 cancellations, CNN reports. The pilots striking in the Netherlands did not cause any cancellations. The canceled flights were about 15% of Ryanair's daily European flight capacity.
Friday is the fifth walkout for the Dublin-based carrier's Irish pilots, who have been striking throughout the summer. The labor unions that organized the most recent strike in July claimed that “employees are hired by Ryanair or its subsidiaries under contracts governed by countries where they are not based, reducing their leave allowances, causing wage disparities and impeding the workers’ access to state benefits,” the AP reported.
During the widespread strikes this summer, the carrier has been refusing to compensate its tens of thousands of passengers who have been grounded as a result of the demonstrations. Under the legislation EU261, airlines are compelled to give EU passengers compensation for long flight delays. Passengers are also entitled to €250 (about $291) when a flight is canceled without two weeks’ notice. That is in addition to a refund or new flights.