Ryanair pilots in Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Ireland have voted to stage a 24-hour strike on Friday 10 August, grounding more than 400 flights and wrecking the travel plans of at least 70,000 passengers.
The walkout is part of an ongoing dispute over working conditions, which has already seen pilots who are members of the Irish trade union FORSA stage four separate one-day strikes.
Passengers whose flights have been cancelled should have already been informed via text or email, but all those travelling to/from the affected countries with Ryanair are advised to check with the airline.
Follow all the latest updates below
Ryanair pilots in Sweden, Belgium and Ireland have confirmed a one-day strike is going ahead on Friday 10 August.
Some 20 of the airline's 300 flights (7 per cent) to and from Ireland have been cancelled, affecting 3,500 passengers. The walkout in Belgium has resulted in the cancellation of 104 flights, while 22 services will be grounded in and out of Sweden.
Ryanair has described the strikes as "unnecessary" and said it will reaccommodate or refund all affected passengers.
The low-cost airline is still awaiting confirmation of whether pilots in Germany and the Netherlands will strike on the same day, but has requested seven days' notice "so that we can notify our customers of cancelled flights in advance and offer them alternative flights or refunds."
Ryanair has also taken the step of inviting Ireland's FORSA union to take part in third party mediation.
The airline’s chief people officer, Eddie Wilson, said: "Ryanair now feels the only way to introduce common sense is by way of third party mediation, and to this end is suggesting Mr Kieran Mulvey formerly of the Labour Commission and Workplace Relations Commission.
"His background and experience could be a positive influence."
As well reaccommodating or refunding affected passengers, Ryanair is obligated to come to the assistance of passengers in the event that a flight is delayed under EU regulation 261/2004.
This means stranded holidaymakers can appeal for meals and accommodation – dependent on the length of the delay and distance of the flight.
When it comes to compensation, however, Ryanair is claiming that the strikes constitute “extraordinary circumstances” beyond the control of the carrier, and has said it will not pay out.
Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), the German pilots' union, has said it will hold a press conference on 8 August to discuss its next steps - and whether they include joining Irish, Belgian and Swedish Ryanair pilots by striking on Friday.
VC said 96 percent of Ryanair pilots in Germany voted in favour of industrial action.
“Ryanair has been playing for time in the negotiations since January,” VC said in a statement. “If the signal given by this vote is not taken seriously, then strikes - such as in other European countries - are inevitable.”
The union said it will give at least 24 hours’ notice of any strikes.
Since Ryanair first recognised unions in December 2017, walkouts have been staged multiple times by airline staff in various countries.
One of the most severe was the 48-hour cabin crew strike on 25 and 26 July, which saw a total of 600 flights to and from Spain, Portugal and Belgium cancelled, jeopardising the travel plans of 100,000 passengers.
Disgruntled cabin crew issued a list of 34 demands, ranging from "a fair living wage" to "not being forced to open an Irish bank account".
Ryanair called the demands "pointless", and said its cabin crew earn up to €40,000 annually; work a fixed five-on/three-off roster (a bank holiday weekend every week); work rosters that exceed all EASA minimum rest requirements; and receive free training, sick pay and an annual uniform allowance of €400.
Some 40 to 50 pilots in the Netherlands work for Ryanair; they have said they will decide today (7 August) whether to join the strike on Friday.
Dutch pilots union VNV said last Wednesday: "Negotiations for a Dutch Ryanair collective labour agreement between Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Ryanair are ongoing, however we are losing hope for a positive outcome.
"Ryanair needs a 'wake up call' and a strike in the Netherlands might be the only solution."
VNV said ALPA’s demands - which include banning "bogus" self-employment contracts and offering sufficient sick pay and pension provisions - were reasonable and that it would back strike action by Dutch pilots.
Ryanair operates flights out of Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Maastricht airports.
The Swedish Air Line Pilots' Association (SPF) has said Ryanair has consistently refused to negotiate over creating a collective employment agreement.
"All proposals from Ryanair that have been shown to the SPF have meant restrictions on how our members are organized and represented, something that is unacceptable to a union," the SPF said in a statement.
The Swedish pilots' decision to strike has resulted in Ryanair cancelling 22 flights to and from Sweden on Friday 10 August.
German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) is holding a press conference this morning at 10am GMT to announce its next steps, which are expected to include joining colleagues from Sweden, Belgium and Ireland in staging a 24-hour strike on 10 August.
A VC spokesman said that a midnight deadline had passed on Tuesday without an improved offer for pay and conditions being made by Ryanair.
If it goes ahead, the walkout would likely include all 400 German Ryanair pilots.
BREAKING: German Ryanair pilots will strike on Friday, the pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit has confirmed.
They will join colleagues in Sweden, Belgium and Ireland to stage a 24-hour walkout that will ground hundreds of flights.
The strike will start at 1.01am GMT on Friday, affecting all Ryanair flights from Germany.
The VC union said in a statement it is calling all permanent pilots employed at Ryanair bases in Germany to strike - about 400 employees in total.
"We demand improvements in pay and working conditions," said Martin Locher, president of VC. "Improvements are inconceivable without an increase in personnel cockpit costs. During negotiations Ryanair categorically ruled out any such increases. At the same time, Ryanair has not shown any interest to find solutions.
"It is only Ryanair which is responsible for the escalation which has now taken place."
It is not yet clear how many flights will be grounded as a result of the German pilots' strike.
Ryanair has cancelled 250 more flights due to the walk-out by German pilots on Friday.
Around 45,000 passengers are to be given 48 hours’ notice or less that their flights have been cancelled.
Ryanair said: "Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union in Germany have today called an unnecessary strike next Friday (10 Aug) and we have regrettably been forced to cancel 250 flights to/from Germany out of 2,400 scheduled flights across Europe.
"We apologise to our customers for the disruption."
The airline has said it will notify all affected passengers by email or SMS by 3pm today, and will re-accommodate them on other Ryanair flights or refund their ticket.
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