PARIS | The European sky is darkening a little more as the summer season approaches with the proliferation of strike calls in several airlines where employees, under pressure from the sudden resumption of traffic, are demanding an improvement in their working conditions. work.
Anger has spread like wildfire at Ryanair. Within weeks, unions in five countries have called the company's workers to strike next weekend.
Spain, France, Belgium, Portugal, Italy: hostesses and stewards everywhere are demanding respect for labor laws and wage increases as the Irish company prepares for a flourishing summer with more activity than in 2019.< /p>
In France, “the company does not respect the rest times as provided for by the civil aviation code,” said the representative of the National Union of Commercial Flight Crew (SNPNC) Damien Mourgues. His union is also asking for a salary increase for employees who are “paid at minimum wage”.
On June 12 and 13, a strike had already caused the cancellation of a quarter of Ryanair's program in France, i.e. around forty flights.
In Spain, the USO and SITCPLA unions are calling on cabin crew members to the Irish company to go on strike on June 24, 25, 26 and 30 as well as July 1 and 2.
The anger also affects the British low-cost EasyJet since the Union Syndicale Ouvrier (USO ) foresees nine days of strike in July in the airports of Barcelona, Malaga, and Mallorca in the Balearic Islands.
This movement will result in walkouts from Friday to Sunday for three of the four weekends in July, the USO said. Only July 23-24 remain spared at this stage.
According to the USO, “EasyJet's flight crew in Spain currently have a base salary of 950 euros” per month, i.e. the “lowest salary” of “all bases in Europe”.
In Portugal, Ryanair staff are also called upon to mobilize from June 24 to 26 to protest against the deterioration of working conditions, as in Belgium, where Michael O'Leary, the company's general manager, swept away with the back of the hand the multiplication of these social movements.
“We provide 2,500 flights a day. Most of these flights will continue to operate, even if a “Mickey” union strikes in Spain or if the Belgian cabin crew unions want to strike here,” he said at a press conference in Brussels. June 14.
On Sunday, the Ryanair pilots decided to join their cabin crew colleagues and called in turn to stop work from Friday. The staff of the national company Brussels Airlines, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, are on strike from Thursday for three days.
Low-cost companies and Ryanair in particular have experienced a dazzling rebound in activity since the lifting of restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the rapid resumption of traffic, many companies find themselves forced to cancel flights due to a lack of staff, such as EasyJet.
At airports, the shortage of staff is causing also serial cancellations, lengthening queues and the anger of passengers. On Monday, all flights departing from Brussels-Zaventem were canceled due to a strike by security guards. At Paris-Charles de Gaulle, one of the largest airports in Europe, employees are called to stop work from July 1.
Monday, the European Federation of Transport Workers (ETF ) warned in an open letter that “the chaos facing the airline industry will only worsen throughout the summer as workers are pushed to their limits”.
Strike movements employees in the sector are multiplying all over Europe and the ETF “encourages them to continue the fight throughout the summer”, assured Livia Spera, general secretary of the federation.