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Ryanair calls for EU probe into rival airline crew, unions and lobbyists over strikes

Ryanair has accused competitor airline crew of conspiring to call repeated and unnecessary strikes

Ryanair
Ryanair plans to cancel 150 flights on Friday due to strikes

Ryanair Holdings PLC (LON:RYA) has called on the European Commission to launch an investigation into the “anti-competitive behaviour” of certain rival airline crew, unions and lobby groups related to ongoing strikes by its workers.

The Irish airline claims these groups have been “actively impending” the company’s negotiations with pilots and cabin crew and organising repeated strikes in an effort to damage its business and consumer confidence for the benefit of its competitors.

READ: Ryanair chairman re-elected at AGM by narrower margin amid concerns about strikes

Ryanair also published the details of its offer to pilots and cabin crew to help end a long-running dispute over working conditions, saying it wanted to “set the record straight”.

The budget carrier has been forced to cancel several flights due to ongoing industrial action by staff.

Earlier on Wednesday, it said on Twitter that it plans to cancel 150 flights on Friday due to industrial action in Spain, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Italy and Germany.

However, it marks less than the 190 cancellations previously announced and Ryanair said more than 92% of its scheduled 2,400 flights will be unaffected because “the vast majority of our people will work as normal”.

Ryanair said it wanted to publish its offer to pilots and crew to "correct trade union propaganda and pave the way to a speedy conclusion of collective labour agreements (CLAs)" with staff. It expects to complete CLAs with pilots and cabin crew by the end of the year.

Ryanair says strikes are unnesseary and disruptive

 “We have made real progress with the unions and our people in many EU countries since we agreed to recognise unions in Dec 2017,” said chief executive Michael O’Leary.

“However, in certain countries, most notably in Portugal, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, and Sweden similar progress is being impeded by the interference of competitor airline pilots and cabin crew who are conspiring to call repeated and unnecessary strikes, which are disrupting Ryanair’s customers, and damaging our business for the benefit of their legacy airline employers.”

Staff based in countries outside of Ireland are unhappy about being employed under Irish legislation. They have complained that about being compelled to receive their pay in Irish bank accounts, which affects their credit rating in their home country.

Ryanair to move to workers to local contracts, improve pay

European Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen told O’Leary on Wednesday that the airline must respect EU rules and give workers contracts where they live.

“Respecting the law is not something over which workers should have to negotiate and not something that can be postponed to a later date,” Thyssen said in a statement.

O'Leary said he and Thyssen had discussed the matter during their meeting and the fact that Ryanair has already agreed to move to local contracts, law and taxation by “early 2019”.

In its offer to staff, the company said it was committed to competitive pay in local markets for cabin crew pay and would next year increase the balance of fixed versus variable pay for pilots. It will also give opportunities for internal promotions.

“The majority of Ryanair’s pilots and cabin crew do not support these strikes, and they have continued to work normally,” O’Leary said.

“We work hard to ensure that our people enjoy the best pay, terms and conditions of any low cost 737 airline in Europe.”

Quick facts: Ryanair Holdings plc

Price: 8.52 EUR

LSE:RYA
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Market Cap: €9.28 billion
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