March 27, 2018 / 5:17 PM / 23 days ago

Ryanair's Portugal cabin crews to go ahead with Easter strikes

LISBON (Reuters) - Some Ryanair (RYA.I) cabin crew in Portugal will go ahead with one-day strikes during the Easter holidays after Europe’s largest low-cost carrier failed to meet their demands on working conditions, the SNPVAC union said on Tuesday.

A Ryanair Boeing 737 aircraft is parked at Boryspil International Airport outside Kiev, Ukraine March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The strikes by unionised cabin crew were set for March 29, April 1 and April 4. The union said it was still in Ryanair’s hands to avoid the walkout.

The airline said it did not expect a lot of crew to join the walkout but disruptions were possible.

“The talks with the company have been fruitless as Ryanair refuses to apply the Portuguese law, recognise the rights that the Portuguese constitution gives to its citizens,” the union said in a statement, also criticising the Portuguese government for doing nothing to defend its union members’ rights.

Union representatives say the strikes were motivated by below-par labour conditions, including disciplinary processes and threats for not reaching in-flight sales objectives. They also accuse the company of ignoring basic parenthood rights and not allowing doctor-approved sick days.

    “We demand respect because it is granted by law... the cabin crews demand their basic rights and not even the vile threat of shutting the Portuguese hubs scares us,” the union said.

    In a statement, Ryanair called the strike threat “entirely unnecessary” after it sent the union a signed recognition agreement and agreed to meet with SNPVAC representatives in Dublin on April 9.

    Ryanair argues that the strike is organised by union members from competitor airlines such as TAP and easyJet to disrupt its operations.

    Ryanair has had strained relations with its staff lately and was forced to recognise trade unions for the first time to avoid mass Christmas strikes in December.

    Unions representing Ryanair pilots across Europe signed a deal earlier this month to cooperate in a move that could raise the prospect of coordinated action, something the airline’s management has been keen to avoid.

    Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Susan Fenton

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