Travel and Sophie Foster, dailystarMilo Boyd
Strike action which could last until 2023 and cause major disruption across Europe has begun – and it could affect your summer holiday.
Ryanair cabin crew members in Spain are walking out Monday to Thursday every week from now until January 7, marking five months of industrial action that’s set to impact travel plans.
The workers are demanding better pay and working conditions from the budget Irish airline, a leader of the USO union has said.
The strike action, which is also backed by the SITCPLA union, follows several previous walkouts by workers at Ryanair in Spain, reports the Mirror.
A total of 10 Spanish airports were affected during those strikes, including Madrid, Malaga, Barcelona, Alicante, Sevilla, Palma, Valencia, Girona, Santiago de Compostela and Ibiza, with the same airports likely to be targeted again.
While British airports won’t be targeted specifically, flights from the UK arriving in Spain or travelling the other way risk being delayed or cancelled.
The 18 days of strikes before this latest period of action caused an estimated 310 cancellations and about 3,455 delays at 10 Ryanair bases in Spain.
“As the company has been unable to listen to the workers, we have been forced to call new strike days,” said Lidia Aransanz, a leader for USO’s Ryanair section.
Ryanair has played down the likely impact of the strike action and said it expected minimal disruption in Spain this winter.
“Recent strikes by USO/SITCPLA have been poorly supported with minimal effect,” it previously said in a statement.
Ms Arasanz said Ryanair cabin crew in Spain have been calling on the company to honour contract agreements since 2019.
“We used to be on Irish contracts, but in 2019 Ryanair signed an agreement to pass all workers under Spanish law,” she told Euronews.
“But they have only implemented the parts that they want.”
The union is asking the airline to align workers’ contracts with Spanish law, including giving employees 30 days of annual leave, 14 bank holidays per year and two extra payments most Spanish workers receive annually.
This week’s strikes are the latest in a summer of industrial action in the aviation industry.
The lifting of travel bans and Covid rules saw a sharp surge of demand from Brits going on holidays, which airlines and airports have struggled to meet.
This has caused tensions to rise among overworked and underpaid employees including check-in staff, cabin crew and pilots over the last few months.
As a result, there are more strikes that could disrupt Brits’ holiday plans in coming weeks.
SEPLA has said there will be three 72 hour strikes of easyJet pilots in Spain taking place from 12 to 14, 19 to 21 and 27 to 29 August.
In Portugal, aviation staff from operator ANA has planned strike action to impact Lisbon, Porto and Faro from August 19 to August 21.
Cabin crew from Spanish airline Vueling are threatening to walk out in a dispute over wages.
They could be joining pilots from Lufthansa, who voted in favour of industrial action last week.