Portugal’s Ryanair pilots officially sign up for strike next week

Any hope that Portugal could dodge a new round of Ryanair travel chaos over Christmas has been dashed as pilots in Portugal voted to join the strike called for next Wednesday (December 20).

Portuguese union SPAC said Ryanair’s refusal to enter into negotiations with them has left them no choice, reports the Irish Examiner.

Pilots will be joining Dublin-based colleagues for a 24-hour walkout just five days before Christmas.

“Ryanair has so far refused to say how many flights will be cancelled”, adds the paper.

The cut-price airline also faces industrial action in Italy and Germany.

The disputes centre on Ryanair’s “failure to recognise independent pilot representatives”.

Explained the Guardian earlier this week, this boils down to management refusing to negotiate with unions.

And as an Irish union source explained, this “failed negotiating model has let down shareholders and tens of thousands of passengers whose flights were cancelled this year because company-controlled industrial relations proved incapable of recruiting and retaining enough pilots.

“The failed policy threatens to further disappoint shareholders and passengers”, said the source, stressing it will ultimately “further damage the airline’s reputation because experienced pilots continue to leave the airline in droves”.

Ryanair, meantime, has responded “by promising to face down any disruptions ‘if or when they arise’ and by threatening to withdraw agreed benefits secured through pilots dealing directly with the airline”, says the IE.

How that strategy works will come clear next week.

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