Europe: Ryanair cabin crew on strike, wage discontent spreads across Europe

by Catarina Demony and Miguel Pereira

LISBON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ryanair cabin crew went on strike in Belgium, Spain and Portugal on Friday to demand higher wages and better working conditions amid a wave of walkouts across several sectors shakes Europe.

Rampant inflation on the continent has led unions to file strike notices in support of their demands.

Airlines and airport managers have also faced staff shortages as travel demand rebounds as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions end. Workers at several other airlines, including British Airways, are also planning strikes this summer.

Ryanair cabin crew unions in Belgium, Spain and Portugal have called a three-day strike from Friday. Staff in France and Italy are called to strike during the weekend.

Employees claim that the Irish airline does not comply with the Labor Codes of the countries concerned, particularly in terms of minimum pay, and urge Ryanair bosses to improve working conditions.

Ryanair told Reuters last week it had negotiated working arrangements for 90% of its staff in Europe and did not expect any significant disruption this summer.

The social movement mainly affects the transport sector, which is under tension with the resumption of travel around the world.

In France, railway unions launched a joint call for a nationwide strike on July 6 and a massive walkout also paralyzed Britain’s rail network this week.

The discontent extends to other sectors. The CGT staged a one-day strike Friday in France to demand a pay rise for oil refinery workers after talks with operator TotalEnergies failed.

With an inflation rate of more than 8% in the euro zone, 9.1% in Great Britain and more than 10% in certain economies of central and eastern Europe, the authorities are concerned about the emergence of a wage-price spiral, with wage demands adding to inflationary pressures.

(Reporting Catarina Demony, Patricia Rua and Miguel Pereira in Lisbon, Inti Landaro, Corina Rodriguez and Christina Thykjaer in Madrid and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; French version Federica Mileo, editing by Sophie Louet)

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