In a statement Ryanair said it “deeply regrets” the cancellations due to the action, which it deemed “unnecessary”, and which will affect up to 50 flights a day to and from Portugal.
In a statement Ryanair spokesperson Kenny Jacobs said: “Ryanair sincerely apologises to our customers for these disruptions which we have done our utmost to avoid. Given that Ryanair cabin crew enjoy great pay – up to €40,000 p.a. (in countries with high youth employment) – industry leading rosters (14 days off each month), great sales commissions, uniform allowances and sick pay, these strikes are entirely unjustified and will achieve nothing other than to disrupt family holidays, and benefit competitor airlines in Belgium, Portugal and Spain.
“All affected customers have been contacted by email and SMS text message earlier today [Wednesday] and we will re-accommodate or refund all of those whose flights have been disrupted”.
The airline is offering affected customers alternative flights during the week before or after 25 and 26 July, or full refunds.
Overall, the action is expected to affect up to 300 of over 2,400 daily Ryanair flights all over Europe (12 percent), with the airline claiming 88 percent of customers across Europe will be unaffected.
Passengers who have not received an email or text message informing them of a cancellation “should expect that their flight will operate as scheduled and should check-in to their departure airport as normal”, the airline stressed.
Meanwhile, earlier this week Portuguese cabin crew union SNPVAC accused Ryanair of “coercing” crew members by “seeking to know who would be participating in the upcoming strike”.
“Crew members in the countries where the strike has been called have been receiving emails where Ryanair wants to know if they will be joining the industrial action or not SNPVAC chairwoman Luciana Passo told Lusa News Agency.
She added, the company is using an internet questionnaire to foresee operations for 25 and 26 July and determine who is going to go on strike, which she says is illegal, and wants to coerce staff by seeing who responds or not.
Luciana Passo acknowledged that the strike would have serious effects on passengers who were completely blameless but said it was the only solution given Ryanair’s refusal to accept the staff’s demands.
She explained the unions were demanding three things: that Ryanair applies the law of the countries where they operate, pursuant to EU law; that it recognises union representatives, and that it applies the same working conditions to everyone who the company employs even if they are directly hired by third-party operators such as Crewlink or Workforce.