January 11, 2018 / 12:46 PM / a year ago

Italian unions call for Ryanair strike on February 10

ROME (Reuters) - Three Italian unions representing cabin crews, pilots and ground crews called for its members to strike on February 10 to protest against Ryanair’s (RYA.I) plans to negotiate labour issues exclusively with one union.

Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft taxi at Manchester Airport, Britain, January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Ryanair has said it would negotiate with Anpac, the main pilots’ association in Italy, but not other unions representing cabin crews, ground crews and pilots who are not members of 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 the company met with the Italian unions in Rome on Tuesday and the discussions would continue.

“We will not comment further on these discussions,” she said.

One of the union leaders backing the strike, Claudio Tarlazzi of Uiltrasporti, said he had not met with the company this week and Ryanair’s response was “a distortion of reality”.

“Until we are recognised, we will fight to safeguard the Ryanair workers, and to defend one’s freedom to join a union,” Tarlazzi said in a statement on Thursday.

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

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

It blamed rostering problems following a rule change by Irish regulators.

Pilot groups 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 Elaine Hardcastle

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