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Ryanair pilots to join cabin crew in strike action planned for September

Unless a deal is reached this week, the low-cost airline’s aircrews will schedule stoppages on five days next month, compounding disruption from another 10 days of industrial action

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Ryanair cabin crew and pilots will strike in September. AP

A labor union representing pilots for Ryanair has announced a series of strikes next month in protest at the Irish airline’s plans to close its Spanish bases in Las Palmas, Tenerife South, Lanzarote and Girona, as well as the Portuguese base of Faro, a move that could see more than 100 pilots lose their jobs.

The industrial action announced today by the SEPLA union will take place during the same month as stoppages already planned by cabin crew for the low-cost carrier. Those strikes are scheduled for September 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29, while the pilots will be walking out on September 19, 20, 22, 27 and 29.

The Irish airline’s plans could see more than 100 pilots lose their jobs

Spain’s Public Works Ministry has already set minimum service levels for the first cabin crew strike days, protecting all of the flights to the Canary and Balearic Islands, 60% of the flights within the peninsula and to international destinations where the flight time is five hours or above, and 35% of flights within the peninsula with a flight time below five hours, according to the USO labor union.

The unions that have called these strikes have rejected these minimum service levels, on the basis that they are abusive, and have announced that they will stage protests outside the Labor and Public Works ministries on September 2 and 6.

The SEPLA union this morning filed a mediation request with the SIMA governmental arbitration service, as is legally required in such labor conflicts. The talks will take place in the coming days, and should a solution not be found, an official strike will be called. However, as was the case with the cabin crew, Ryanair is not expected to reach a compromise during the mediation, meaning the strikes will almost definitely go ahead.

We hope that the company reconsiders its decision, which is not supported by any economic motivations 

SEPLA union representatives

The Ryanair pilots and their union argue that the planned closure of the Spanish bases are not based on any legal nor economic arguments. “We hope that the company reconsiders its decision, which is not supported by any economic motivations given that Ryanair continues to announce profits year after year,” SEPLA representatives said.

SEPLA is also arguing that Ryanair has announced the closures “without carrying out the obligatory legal procedure to carry out a collective dismissal.” The closure of the Tenerife South, Las Palmas, Lanzarote, Girona and Faro bases in January 2020 could affect more than 1.4 million seats scheduled for the first quarter of the year, according to a report from the consultancy Mabrian Technologies, in collaboration with Interface Tourism Spain.

Despite this, Ryanair is yet to announce the effect that the stoppages will have and if they will affect the scheduling of flights.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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