Ryanair strike: One in six flights cancelled in pilot walkout

Ryanair strike Dutch pilots are disputing working conditions

Ryanair strike Dutch pilots are disputing working conditions with the Irish low-fare airline

Around 50,000 passengers across Europe are expected to be affected this weekend as Ryanair is forced to cancel nearly 400 flights due to a 24-hour walkout by staff in five European countries over a dispute about pay and working conditions.

A spokesman said that despite the walkouts, 85% of Ryanair's scheduled flights, more than 2,000, would operate as normal.

But Ryanair, in a statement said "there will be no cancellations (of flights to and from the Netherlands) as a result of the unnecessary strike action by the Dutch pilot union".

In response to unions serving Ryanair strike notices, Europe's largest low-priced carrier has announced in recent days the cancellations of 250 flights in and out Germany, 104 to and from Belgium and another 42 in Sweden and its home market of Ireland, where around a quarter of its pilots were staging their fifth 24-hour walkout.

Belgium-based Ryanair pilots gather at Charleroi Airport as part of a European-wide strike.

Ryanair, which flies in 37 countries and carried 130 million passengers last year, averted widespread Christmas strikes last year by agreeing to recognise trade unions for the first time in its 33-year history.

The action is the latest in a series of disagreements between Ryanair management and staff after the firm recognized its employee unions in late 2017 and entered into negotiations.

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In the Netherlands, around 22 flights from Eindhoven airport could potentially be affected, the ANP news agency reported.

Yesterday, at the eleventh hour, they were joined by Dutch pilots after an unsuccessful attempt by the airline to obtain a court order blocking the strike action.

He added that Ryanair had already offered a 20% pay increase this year, and that 80% of its pilots in Germany were now on permanent contracts.

But chief executive Michael O'Leary has also warned the airline may shift jobs and planes to more profitable areas if the turmoil continues.

Among other issues, they are also seeking changes to Ryanair's practice of moving staff to different bases without much notice, and a reduction in hours.

Responding to the comments Mr Calder made on the BBC today, Ryanair told Express.co.uk: "In the case of a cancelled flight, if the customer requests a full refund, then no further compensation is due".

'Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund or reroute options, ' the carrier said.

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