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Ryanair announces strike dates

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Written by: Emma Lunn
08/08/2019
The budget airline has announced multi-day walkouts in August and September after a row about pay and conditions.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has set strike dates for UK-based Ryanair pilots following an industrial action vote. The ballot saw 80 per cent vote in favour of strike action on a 72 per cent turnout.

Ryanair pilots will walkout from 00.01 on 22 August until 23.59 on 23 August, and from 00.01 on 2 September until 23.59 on 4 September.

BALPA blamed the strikes on Ryanair refusing to deal with unions. It said this has resulted in “a management that apparently doesn’t understand how to work with unions”, and “a company that doesn’t have a number of standard agreements that any union would reasonably expect in any workplace”.

BALPA’s claim includes several issues including pensions, loss of license insurance, maternity benefits, allowances, and Ryanair’s pay structure.

Brian Strutton, BALPA general secretary, said: “We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action. No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”

Ryanair claimed the strike action had the support of less than 30 per cent of Ryanair’s UK pilots. It said that less than 50 per cent of Ryanair’s UK pilots are members of BALPA, and of these, just 57 per cent voted in favour of industrial action.

A statement from Ryanair said: “BALPA have no mandate to disrupt our customers’ holidays and flights, particularly at a time when UK pilots are facing job losses due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.”

Ryanair’s said its UK pilots agreed a 20 per cent salary increase last year, with senior captains earning up to £180,000 a year, which is more than pilots working for competitors Norwegian or Jet2 earn.

Ryanair has asked the union to return to talks.

What are my rights if I am affected by the strikes?

Ryanair is yet to announce exactly which flights will be affected by the strikes and is unlikely to do so until two or three days before the strike dates.

Aashna Shroff, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said: “If your flight from the UK is during the strike period, and your holiday plans are likely to be disrupted as a result of this industrial action, thanks to EU regulations, you are entitled to: a full refund or an alternative flight on a later date outside the strike period.

“Even though the first strike is two weeks away, travellers should check Ryanair’s website for information as soon as possible and contact their travel providers for up-to-date information. And don’t cancel your flight or book a replacement until you have confirmation on the status of your existing flight, or you might be left footing the bill for two tickets if your flight takes off as scheduled.”

If you have booked a flight as part of a package holiday, the travel company which sold you the trip is responsible for sourcing alternative travel, and if it can’t then you can claim a full refund of the whole holiday price.

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