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Ryanair's Strike Leaves Above 40,000 Flyers in the Lurch

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Per Reuters, strikes at Ryanair Holdings plc (RYAAY - Free Report) last Friday affected more than 40,000 passengers across Europe. Cabin crews in Germany, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy staged a 24-hour walkout on Sep 28. They also found support in German pilots, who joined the movement.

Ryanair initially cancelled 150 flights ahead of the strike. However, the number increased by 100 more on Thursday with the German pilots also wanting to participate in the protest march.

The employees are primarily demanding better pay and working conditions. They are also against the airline’s usage of a common Irish law (except for U.K.-based employees) for all its employees regardless of the country they are based in. The working staff wants a contract governed by the local law.

A Ryanair spokesperson defended the company stating that it has already offered (in writing) the European unions to implement the local law, social taxes and accept the local court’s jurisdiction.  However, the Belgium union claims to have never got the same on paper. Meanwhile, German pilots' union has hinted at more such industrial actions in case the carrier does not mend its ways.

Persistent labor-related agitation since the time it acknowledged trade unions last December has been hampering bookings at the company. Consequently, the European low-cost carrier is reconsidering its capacity growth plan for winter and summer 2019.

Amid numerous flight cancellations at Ryanair, its rival easyJet plc (EJTTF - Free Report) seems to gain a competitive edge from it. On Friday, the carrier forecast annual profit at the high end of its projection owing to robust demand and cancellations at Ryanair.

Labor-related issues are very much the order of the day in airline space. The airline employees claim that despite the companies generating record profits, they lag in terms of employee remuneration. This has in turn, propelled frequent new labor deals across the airline industry.

This July, JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU - Free Report) ratified its four-year agreement with the pilots represented by Air Line Pilots Association. Earlier in March, Spirit Airlines, Inc. (SAVE - Free Report) ratified its five-year deal with pilots pertaining to wage increase.

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