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Ryanair strike: Spain's cabin crew demand ‘decent work conditions’ in mass walkout

Passengers wait to check in at Ryanair desk at Barcelona airport in Prat Llobregat, Spain.
Passengers wait to check in at Ryanair desk at Barcelona airport in Prat Llobregat, Spain.   -   Copyright  Manu Fernandez/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By Charlotte Elton

Holidaymakers could face yet more travel chaos after Spain’s Ryanair cabin crew voted to hold six days of strikes over June and July.

Workers affiliated with two Spanish unions are set to walk out on 24, 25, 26 and 30 June, as well as on the first two days of July.

Staff want a deal that “guarantees decent work conditions for all personnel" at the airline, the USO and SITCPLA unions said in a joint statement.

The strikes come as European airports and carriers struggle to cope with a surge in travel demand, with thousands of flights cancelled over the past month.

How will the Ryanair strike impact your holiday?

Ryanair operates out of more than 20 airports in Spain.

However, the budget carrier does not expect widespread disruption, a spokesperson said, as most staff are affiliated with different unions who have reached agreements with Ryanair.

“We believe that their [USO and SITCPLA unions] strike calls will not be supported by our Spanish crews,” they commented.

But the named Spanish unions claim otherwise. Both has threatened to coordinate action with other Ryanair staff in Belgium, France, Italy and Portugal.

The strike is the latest to beset European travel. Last week, industrial action forced multiple budget airlines - including Ryanair - to cancel flights to and from Italy, while a Thursday morning strike meant Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport had to scrap 100 flights.

This month, hundreds of British Airways staff at London’s Heathrow will vote on whether or not to walk off the job to protest pay conditions.

GMB - the union leading the UK strike action - has warned that British Airways will face a “gruelling summer of travel chaos” if the company doesn’t offer staff a pay hike.

Why are European airports so busy?

Roughly 191,000 European aviation workers have been made redundant over the pandemic.

Now, as travel demand surges, airports and airlines are too short-staffed to handle the influx.

The airline industry has launched a recruitment drive, but Air Council International - Europe's trade body for airports - predicts that delays are inevitable at two-thirds of European airports this summer.

British Airways was forced to scrap 8,000 flights in its March-October schedule this year, while EasyJet has reduced its schedule by roughly 40 flights per day for the rest of June.

Airports are also feeling the heat. Security delays at Dublin Airport, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, and Manchester Airport have caused mammoth disruption for thousands of travellers.