Hundreds of Ryanair flights cancelled over European strikes

Ryanair strike Pilots in the Netherlands to join Europe-wide strikes on Friday

Ryanair strike Pilots in the Netherlands to join Europe-wide strikes on Friday

Around 50,000 passengers across Europe are expected to be affected this weekend as Ryanair is forced to cancel nearly 400 flights due to a 24-hour walkout by staff in five European countries over a dispute about pay and working conditions.

The airline says 85 per cent of its Friday flights would operate and that affected customers would get email or text messages later on Wednesday.

But Ryanair, in a statement said "there will be no cancellations (of flights to and from the Netherlands) as a result of the unnecessary strike action by the Dutch pilot union".

Germany's powerful Cockpit union accused Ryanair of "categorically" ruling out higher personnel costs for cockpit crew, leaving no room for a compromise.

The Irish budget airline said the strikes were "regrettable and unjustified" and called for unions to come back to the negotiating table.

In the Netherlands, Ryanair filed for an urgent court order to try to prevent Dutch pilots from joining the industrial action.

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In June Ryanair signed an agreement with the Unite union, giving hundreds of cabin crew employees full consultation rights and collective bargaining.

Which flights are affected by the Ryanair strike?

Europe's largest low-priced airline recognized unions in December, but talks have so far failed to produce agreements on improved working conditions, or for contracts to be governed by the laws of the country where workers are based, rather than by Irish legislation.

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.

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

"It's annoying that it's happening in the summer holidays, but it's the only means they have".

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But some people took to Twitter to complain at how Ryanair handled the debacle after their flights were canceled.

Ryanair has repeatedly said it remained open to further talks with pilot representatives.

The unrest is one of the biggest challenges to face long-term chief executive Michael O'Leary, who was once quoted as saying he would rather cut off his hand than recognise unions and on another occasion crossed a picket line of baggage handlers to help load a plane.

It has already threatened to move part of its Dublin fleet to Poland, which could cost 300 jobs, including 100 pilot positions.

Among other issues, they are also seeking changes to Ryanair's practice of moving staff to different bases without much notice, and a reduction in hours.

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