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Ryanair Easter strike in France called off as bosses agree union talks

The action would have taken place tomorrow (April 16) affecting flights in and out of Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Beauvais

Ryanair has profited from the relaunch of travel this year and reported carrying 11.2 million passengers in March Pic: Markus Mainka / Shutterstock

Ryanair pilots have called off a strike planned for this Saturday (April 16) which would have affected French flights in Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Beauvais after the airline’s management agreed to talks with union representatives. 

France’s union of airline pilots, the Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne (SNPL), filed a strike notice at the end of March to protest against a lack of communication from management.

The pilots are demanding an improvement to salary conditions, better annual leave and an improvement to the calculation of overtime.

It comes as pilots at another low-cost airline, Spanish company Volotea, plan to go ahead with strikes this weekend and next weekend to protest at low salaries and what they claim are poor working conditions. 

The dispute between pilots and Ryanair started over its subsidiary Malta Air, which runs the French bases, at the start of the year.

Pilots said they want to normalise relations by having an accord d’entreprise but dialogue with the company failed.

In France, an accord d’entreprise becomes part of the company’s statutes and forms a legal base for relations between unions and the company.

Around 60% of the pilots concerned voted in favour of the strike notice.

The union says pilots took a 20% pay cut during the Covid crisis and now want some recognition from the company for their efforts.

Ryanair has been the company which seems to have profited most from the relaunch of air travel as Covid restrictions ease – it says it transported 11.2 million passengers in March.

SNPL called off the strike yesterday after Ryanair’s management agreed to talks. The company has not responded to The Connexion’s request for an update on the situation. 

SNPL wrote in a statement:

“Thanks to a large number of pilots who mobilised, the management of Ryanair / Malta Air has decided to meet the representatives of SNPL. A big thanks to all those who came out in support of our colleagues, both in France and internationally.”

SNPL has not mentioned any plans for further strike action as yet. 

Volotea pilots to strike

SNPL has also called for pilots of Spanish airline Volotea to strike over salary concerns and a lack of dialogue from the airline’s management.

“We are concerned by the hypocrisy of the management for whom everything appears rosy based on multiple external communications, but which continues to ask its employees to make great efforts to withstand the consequences of the [coronavirus] crisis, while refusing any social dialogue,” SNPL wrote in a press statement.

“While Volotea is talking to the press about the recovery that is underway and its high-speed development in France, it plans to impose a pay cut on its pilots.

“However, since 2012, when Volotea was created, the crew has been among the lowest paid in the market, which is unacceptable and untenable.”

SNPL has organised pilot strikes this weekend (April 15 to 18) and between April 23 and 24. 

It is not clear which flights will be affected. Volotea operates out of airports in Nantes, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Strasbourg and Toulouse.   

Ryanair’s France recruitment programme

France has been chosen by Ryanair for an ambitious pilot recruitment programme which aims to see 500 new pilots trained over the next four years.

The company partnered with Paris based Astonfly, the largest pilot training school in France.

Ryanair said France was chosen because of the very high level of training in French schools, which it had noted when it previously recruited pilots who had been trained by Astonfly.

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