SPAIN’S government has issued a ‘minimum’ protected flight mandate during six days of Ryanair cabin crew strikes in the country.
Cabin crew based in Spain will strike on June 24, 25, 26 and 30, as well as on July 1 and 2, according to the USO and SCITPLA unions over a dispute concerning working conditions.
The Irish air carrier has previously promised ‘minimal disruption’ to services but the unions believe a high number of their members will go on strike.
The Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda (Mitma) has now ordered a ‘minimum’ service to be maintained.
It also pointed out that the last three strike days affect the first busy holiday weekend of the summer season.
Mitma says the protected services are intended to defend the basic rights of citizens to travel balanced with the right to strike.
Ryanair services from the Balearic and Canary islands to the mainland will get flight protection between 76% and 82%.
For services on routes between mainland Spanish and foreign cities, whose alternative means of public transport means a journey time equal to or greater than five hours, the percentages are between 53% and 58%.
Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson said: “In Spain, because they depend so much on tourism, they are going to protect a large amount of flights.”
“Even if the cabin crew are going to go on strike, they have to operate those flights by law.”
“If you are a striker and you are put on a protected flight you have to operate that flight. And then there is a large number of our people who want to work as normal. ”
“There are more than enough people willing to work, and more than sufficient government holdbacks on flights, to avoid the chaos that some people are predicting.”
But he warned that Ryanair may cancel flights that have not been listed as protected.
He added: “If we need to cancel flights, we will contact passengers directly.”
Ryanair’s union negotiations, he insisted, ‘are being done in the right way, we just need to be talking to the right people’.
Wilson said: “After six weeks of negotiations we were able to make a deal with the largest union in Spain for better rosters and pay increases, which I think tells you the dynamic that we are up against here”.
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