January 11, 2018 / 12:38 PM / in 8 months

Italian unions call Ryanair strikes over bargaining agreement

ROME, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Three Italian unions representing cabin crews, pilots and ground crews plan a full-day strike on Feb. 10 to protest against Ryanair’s plans to negotiate labour issues exclusively with the country’s main pilots’ union, Anpac.

“There must be an immediate discussion about salaries and safeguards for all of the workers, and not just a portion of them,” the Filt Cgil, Fit Cisl and Uiltrasporti unions said in a statement sent by email.

“It is unacceptable that the company is choosing which unions it speaks with, in total disregard of the most elementary principle that is part of our legal system that says workers can choose freely who they want to represent them,” the statement said.

A Ryanair spokeswoman said in response: “We have already met with the Italian unions in Rome on Tuesday, 9 January, and these discussions will continue. We will not comment further on these discussions.”

The Irish budget airline in December said it would recognise pilot unions for the first time in its 32-year history.

Ryanair said it would speak with Anpac, but not others who represent a smaller number of pilots, as well as cabin and ground crews.

Ryanair pilots in several countries mobilised after the company in September announced the cancellation of around 20,000 flights, which it blamed on a lack of standby pilots.

It blamed the rostering problem following a rule change by Irish regulators.

Pilot groups instead have complained of a toxic work atmosphere and said Ryanair is facing a major staffing shortage. Management has repeatedly denied this and says it offers some of the best pay and conditions in the sector. (Reporting by Alberto Sisto, additional reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin; writing by Steve Scherer; editing by Jason Neely)

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