Ryanair pilot strike affects 14,000 passengers on Spanish flights

Kenny Jacobs chief marketing officer of Ryanair during a news conference in Frankfurt Germany

Ryanair pilots are striking in five European countries, forcing the cancellation of a sixth of the firm's flights during the holiday season peak.

The Irish budget airline said around 55,000 passengers would be affected by the strikes, and they have been offered refunds or the option of rerouting their journey.

"For decades Ryanair has refused their employees basic labour rights most employees on the labour market take for granted, but here a strike is necessary to show the airline that it no longer can avoid treating its employees in a dignified manner", Martin Lindgren, President of the Swedish Pilots' Union, said in a statement. The impact of the strike was limited with Ryanair apparently able to replace the striking Dutch pilots.

The Irish airline, Europe's largest low-priced carrier, averted widespread strikes before Christmas by agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history. But a court said yesterday Ryanair pilots in the Netherlands could not be prevented from doing so.

Which flights are affected by the Ryanair strike?

The unprecedented simultaneous strike action is the latest headache in a turbulent summer for Europe's second-largest airline.

The unions want the contracts of Ryanair employees to be governed by the laws of the nation where they are based, not by Irish legislation.

"We expect the company to lower profit guidance for FY19 as it lowers capacity, on both strike disruption and crew shortages, and see weaker unit revenue trends as strike-affected traffic is redeployed on to operating flights and as passengers book away from what is now a less reliable travel option than usual", HSBC analyst Andrew Lobbenberg said.

Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.

Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair marketing director, called the strike "useless", and said that Ryanair pilots are paid better than their counterparts at competitor airlines Easyjet or Norwegian.

Will Ryanair be offering compensation for travellers?

About 300 Ryanair flights were cancelled in July when cabin crews in Belgium, Portugal and Spain went on strike for 48 hours.

Unions have strongly condemned what they see as Ryanair's attempts to play countries off against each other.

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