The Spanish unions USO and Sitcpla – the latter specifically for cabin crew – have announced six days of 24-hour strikes on 24, 25, 26 and 30 June and 1 and 2 July; for many people the start of the summer holidays.
The protests are taking place at the airline’s ten bases;
Furthermore, it involves around 1,400 workers.
According to the unions, the strike is due to the company’s decision to leave the negotiating table for the first collective bargaining agreement for the airline’s crew members. Ryanair did reach an agreement with the trade union CCOO to negotiate the agreement. USO and Sitcpla were not included in this. This is not legitimate according to these unions because CCOO has hardly any members among Ryanair’s staff.
Purpose of the protests
The aim of the protests is that Ryanair will return to the negotiating table with these unions after eight months. Ryanair has forced this strike. Therefore, we have to take action for fundamental labour rights and to comply with court rulings and reach an agreement. The Irish airline is the only international airline without a collective agreement in our country,’ said Lidia Arasanz, general secretary of the USO’s trade union section.
Both unions reached an agreement with Ryanair in early 2019, following months of protests by the airline’s cabin crew. The agreement contained several measures including the application of Spanish labour law. Yet the company never implemented these improvements, according to the crew members. For example, the unions denounce the fact that these workers are still not entitled to the 22 working days of annual leave guaranteed in Spain, nor to the 14 public holidays.
But the straw that broke the camel’s back was the agreement between the airline and the CCOO. A pact that was announced a few weeks ago and in which Ryanair appointed this union as the main interlocutor to negotiate the agreement. After reaching this agreement, the airline cancelled the meeting to negotiate with USO and Sitcpla scheduled for 9 June.
‘The agreement reached includes improvements already agreed by USO and Sitcpla at Ryanair,’ Manuel Lodeiro, of Sitcpla, contributed. He further stated that the airline wanted to ‘destroy’ these unions, as it has done in other European countries with the most combative unions. ‘The CCOO is now delegating and flaunting something that we have been working on for a long time. Ryanair wants to take us off the tables,’ added Arasanz, who estimates that between 1,200 and 1,400 cabin crew currently work for Ryanair.
Among the improvements reached by CCOO is a wage increase of €1,000 in 2022 and €800 in 2023. Moreover, these are increases that USO and Sitcpla said had been included in a judgment won at the National Court. Also, 600 hours of flying time will be guaranteed, a demand both unions say they made without the company taking a position.
The unions are also considering joining protests at the European level. Together with other organisations in countries such as Italy, Portugal and Belgium, they are looking for possible dates for strikes that would take place before August.
The agreement with the CCOO and the complications in establishing a common timetable finally led both unions to bring forward their protests. The possibility of joining new protests is still under consideration.