Thousands of travellers in Europe saw their plans disrupted Friday after airline Ryanair cancelled some 190 flights because of strikes by cabin crew in Spain, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Italy and Germany. The budget airline says it had informed passengers of possible disruptions ahead of time, giving them time to adjust.
In Tenerife, Spain, hundreds of passengers queued at Ryanair counters and dozens more at the Madrid airport as at least 64 flights of the low-cost company from or to Spain were cancelled.
The unions blame the Ireland-based company for breaking talks over the company’s ratio of outsourced workers, working conditions and their demand for local contracts instead of Irish ones.
In a statement on Thursday, the company blamed cabin crews of competitors for organizing the strikes and blocking “significant progress” in labour negotiations.
But the Brussels-based European Cabin Crew Association, which says it has more than 35,000 members, supported the walkout over what it described as the airline’s “inflexibility, single-mindedness and unreasonable behaviour.”
The association alleged Ryanair was intimidating strikers by threatening them with job losses.
Spanish cabin crew workers’ unions Sitcpla and USO say cancellations could be increasing throughout the day.
Airports in Valencia, Mallorca and Tenerife are the most affected, the unions say. In Portugal, 13 morning flights were cancelled.