Ryanair faces more strikes after Spanish pilot union SEPLA called for industrial action on 19, 20. 22, 27 and 29 September.
Around 900 pilots could walk out in protest at the closures of Ryanair bases in Lanzarote, Tenerife, Las Palmas and Girona, which will cut 120 jobs. The low-cost carrier now operates 13 bases, including the four earmarked for closure.
The action would take place alongside strikes by Spanish unions USO and SITCPLA, which represent cabin crew. They have called for action on 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29 September.
SEPLA said it has submitted a request for mediation to the SIMA, with the aim of exhausting all avenues for negotiation but if no agreement is reached, pilots will go on strike.
SEPLA’s union delegate, Francisco Gomez said Ryanair has not used any legal cause to support the measures and the only excuse given, has been the delay in the delivery of the Boeing 737 Max.
He accused Ryanair of operating a strategy “to make a low cost of a low cost” to drive down wages and standards and by operating flights through its subsidiary Lauda, with which it operates routes from Palma de Malorca and setting up Buzz, a Polish subsidiary that is offering pilot jobs in the Canary Islands.
Gomez said Ryanair continues to hire people and the union questions whether the airline has followed the correct procedures in dismissing pilots.
SEPLA president, Oscar Sanguino added the union is willing to negotiate until the end to avoid this situation. “We will exhaust all means to avoid this, but we remember that we are only defending our jobs.”
In a statement, Ryanair called on all the trade unions to call off their “pointless strikes” which it said serve “no purpose” other than to disrupt the travel plans of customers and their families towards the end of the summer holiday period.
The statement continued: “As the closure of Ryanair’s loss-making winter bases in the Canaries cannot, and will not, be reversed, these strikes are unnecessary and doomed to fail.
“Ryanair has 30 fewer Boeing 737 aircraft than planned this winter due to the Boeing Max aircraft delivery delays and this aircraft shortage has forced it to close some loss-making winter bases, and cut aircraft numbers at others. These difficult decisions have affected many Ryanair bases this winter, not just in Spain but across eight other countries.
“Bases such as those in the Canary Islands are heavily loss-making in the winter season. Almost all their traffic originates overseas and can be better served by aircraft based in other EU countries without the high costs and inefficiency of basing aircraft and crews in the Canary Islands during the period from November to March.”
Ryanair also said it expects to cancel less than eight of its over 950 daily flights to/from Spain on both Sunday 1 and Monday 2 September.