TRAVELLERS could have their holidays ruined due to Ryanair strikes from today, September 18.
Here’s everything you need to know about why pilots are walking out, when the strikes will take place and how you could be affected.
When are Ryanair pilots going on strike in August?
Strikes are set to be held until 29 September 2019.
The series of strikes will be on September 18 and 19 for 48 hours, and then on September 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29 for periods of 24 hours.
On August 22, Ryanair lost their High Court bid to stop UK pilots from striking.
But the airline claims it has cobbled together enough pilots to operate as normal.
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) announced the walkouts after its members voted in favour of them in early August.
The union said 72 per cent of its members at the company had voted in the ballot, with 80 per cent of those supporting industrial action.
Ryanair had sought to stop the strikes with a case in the High Court in London, but the Court allowed the strikes to go ahead.
Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton welcomed the judgement.
“We are clear that we want to settle the dispute and bring about a change in Ryanair for the better,” he said.
“Pilots in Ryanair are seeking the same kind of policies and agreements that exist in other airlines – our demands are not unreasonable.”
What are the exact strike days in September?
18-19 (48 hours)
21 (24 hours)
23 (24 hours)
25 (24 hours)
27 (24 hours)
29 (24 hours)
Why are pilots striking?
UK-based pilots working for Ryanair are exasperated about a number of issues, with Balpa saying the strike was the result of “decades” of Ryanair refusing to engage with union.
A statement from the union said: “Our claim includes many issues including pensions; loss-of-licence insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure.
“We have made no progress with Ryanair management on any of those areas at all, seemingly because Ryanair management cannot understand how to go about working with us constructively, or how to negotiate.”
General secretary Strutton also 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.”
Pilots for the airline based in Ireland had also threatened to go on strike, but that action was blocked by Ireland’s High Court.
The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) has said Ryanair, which posted profits of €1bn (£930m) last year, is in a healthy financial position and can afford to reward its pilots fairly.
Will I get my money back if my flight is cancelled or delayed?
If your flight is cancelled, you have the legal right to either a full refund within seven days or a replacement flight to your destination.
But the airline might not pay out if it’s out of their control, for example, due to bad weather or strikes.
If your flight is delayed by three hours or more and you were flying to or from a European airport, or with an EU-based airline such as Ryanair or British Airways then you can claim compensation up to £229 (€250) for short-haul flights and £367 €400 for mid-haul flights and £530 (€600) for long-haul flights.
You can find out more here.
Could my flight be cancelled?
Ryanair’s statement said: “Ryanair expects all its flights to/from UK airports on Wednesday 18th & Thursday 19th to operate as scheduled thanks to the efforts of over 95 per cent of our UK pilots who have confirmed that they will work their rosters, and will not support these failed Balpa strikes.
“On behalf of our customers and their families we wish to sincerely thank all our UK pilots who do not support these Balpa strikes.
“We have repeatedly invited Balpa to return to negotiations with Ryanair, and to call off these unsupported and failed pilot strikes, but Balpa have yet to offer any reason for their continuing refusal to take up these invitations.”
Passengers are also encouraged to check the airline’s website.
Here’s our guide on how to claim compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
What has Ryanair said about the strikes?
On September 18, Ryanair tweeted a statement saying: “We remain open to meeting with Balpa and we again call on them to return to talks as soon as possible as these failed strikes serve no purpose.”
On August 22, 2019, Ryanair said: “We again call on the Balpa union and this small minority of UK pilots to return to Mediation as they are required to under out Recognition Agreement.
“British pilots earning six figure annual salaries should not be threatening the holiday flights of thousands of British passengers and their families (very few of whom earn over £170,000 pa).”
The strikes come after Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said 900 jobs were at risk at the airline because there was an “excess” number of pilots and cabin crew.
The airline said its UK pilots agreed a 20 per cent salary increase, with Senior Captains earning up to £180,000, which it said is more than competitors.
LATEST ON STRIKE ACTION
Ryanair said in a statement that it was “disappointed” with the strikes.
They claimed the industrial action “does not have the support of the majority of Ryanair’s UK pilots”.
Ryanair added in a letter to Balpa: “At this difficult time for UK pilots facing base cuts and closures, Balpa should be working with Ryanair to save UK pilot jobs, not endanger them through ill-timed and ill-judged disruption of our customers’ travel plans, just 10 weeks before the threat of a no-deal Brexit.”
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