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Ryanair strikes go ahead as planned: Is your flight affected?

Written by: Emma Lunn
Strike action from Ryanair pilots has gone ahead as planned after the airline lost a High Court bid to stop pilots walking out.

The first of two two-day strikes by Ryanair pilots is now underway – but disruption has been minimal so far.

Ryanair said all first wave flights to and from UK airports departed as scheduled this morning, with 97 per cent punctuality (due to some air traffic control delays). The airline said it did not expect any disruptions to its flights to or from our UK airports today.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said Ryanair pilots had downed tools after Ryanair managers refused to enter talks to end the long-running dispute over several issues including pay and pensions.

BALPA accused Ryanair of attempting to “legally bludgeon its workforce” by trying to seek an injunction to stop the strike in the High Court and said the airline had “snubbed its staff” and ignored the needs of passengers by refusing to enter constructive negotiations with BALPA.

BALPA is calling for Ryanair to offer a consistent and transparent pay structure, adequate pension provision, loss of licence insurance and more appropriate maternity benefits.

Brian Strutton, BALPA general secretary, said: “Time and again Ryanair management has shown its head is in the sand when it comes to its workforce. We’ve tried on numerous occasions to get them round the negotiating table, but they flatly refuse.

“But their pilots are determined to be heard. Our argument is not with passengers but with the company and we hope this walk out will signal the resolve of our members. Ryanair pilots simply want to bring about change in the company that will ensure its workforce are entitled to benefits that are seen across aviation in many other companies.”

The first wave of Ryanair strikes kicked off at 00.01 this morning (22 August) and will continue until 11.59pm tomorrow (23 August). The second wave of strike action begins at 00.01 on 2 September until 11.59pm on 4 September.

Although no flights have been cancelled so far, Ryanair passengers have taken to social media to complain about an alleged lack of communication about flights already booked.

Adam French, consumer rights expert at Which?, said: “The threat of more travel chaos over this busy bank holiday weekend will be a crushing blow for passengers who are likely to have spent weeks worrying about whether their holiday flights will take off.

“Ryanair now needs to take every possible step to minimise disruption by informing passengers likely to be affected and offering refunds or alternative transport as required by law in the event of cancellation – if necessary, on other airlines. The airline already has a track record of trying to shirk its responsibility to pay compensation to passengers when strikes by its staff go ahead, so we would expect the aviation regulator to step in and take strong action at the first sign of the airline trying to fob off its customers.”

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