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Strike at Ryanair – also for more respect and a better working atmosphere

Pilots and flight attendants of the low-cost airline complain about similar behaviors as Ryanair passengers.

The employees of Ryanair are facing industrial action. The dispute, which has been smouldering for months, is expected to reach a new climax this week. On Friday the airline’s pilots want to go on strike in several European countries, which is why Ryanair has already cancelled numerous flights as a precaution.

Germany must also reckon with effects, although at the end of the week the company appealed in an internal circular to its employees not to take part in the strike.

The background: In the face of ever more obvious resistance, the management had abandoned the line it had followed for more than three decades and wanted to negotiate collective agreements for pilots and flight attendants for the first time. But now, seven months later, talks with the unions have made little progress. A wave of strikes is now building up.

The mood among the Ryanair employees is bad. You want more fixed and less variable components in your salary. Equally important for everyone is an improvement in working conditions. The low-cost airline is said to be systematically exploiting its employees. “As an employee, you constantly have to defend yourself in order not to be cheated,” says one of the airline’s employees.
Pressure and control are common measures to encourage employees to work overtime and generate sales. At least many of them now have direct employment contracts with Ryanair. This was not always the case, and it was thanks to years of investigations by German public prosecutors that the “contract model”, which could also be described as pseudo-self-employment, is declining strongly in Germany.

Some, however, have an employment contract under Irish law, which makes it difficult to find a lawyer familiar with Irish law in the event of a dispute. Pension insurance will then also run via Ireland and offer less protection than in Germany. The aim of industrial action is rarely a less rude working atmosphere and respectful treatment of personnel. This closes the circle from staff to passengers: the passengers of the low-cost airline also complain about poor service, long response times and poor payment morale for passenger compensation. Perhaps then industrial action is indeed a tried and tested means of educating overly ruthlessly profit-oriented companies.

As a supplement for all potential victims of flight cancellations in the context of the Ryanair strike planned for Friday: In its judgement of 29 October 2015, the Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main ruled that the reorganization of the flight plan due to strikes did not constitute an extraordinary circumstance exempting airlines from compensation payments under EC 261/2004. The cancellation of flights prior to a strike should be seen as a free entrepreneurial decision by the airline.

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