Britain’s summer of air chaos continues as the pilots of budget airline Ryanair have voted to embark on industrial action in a row over pay.
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) set strike dates on Wednesday, following a ballot for UK-based Ryanair pilots, which will affect passengers travelling in the run-up to the August Bank Holiday weekend and early September.
Two walkouts will take place, one from 22-23 August and the next from 2-4 September.
Why are they striking?
In a statement Balpa said, “Decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions has resulted in two things.
“Firstly, a management that apparently doesn’t understand how to work with unions, and secondly a company that doesn’t have a number of standard agreements that any union would reasonably expect in any workplace.”
Discussions with Ryanair management over pensions, loss of licence insurance, maternity benefits, allowances and “a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure” had made no progress, said Balpa.
Brian Strutton, Balpa General Secretary, said, “We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action.
“No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”
Ryanair said that less than 50 per cent of Ryanair’s UK pilots are members of Balpa and of these 57 per cent voted in favour of industrial action, which meant less than 30 per cent of its pilots had backed the action.
An airline spokesman said, “We are disappointed that the pilots union Balpa, is threatening to disrupt our customers travel plans during late August, early September, when it has the support of less than 30 per cent of Ryanair’s UK pilots.
“Balpa have no mandate to disrupt our customers holidays and flights, particularly at a time when UK pilots are facing job losses due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no deal Brexit on 31 Oct.”
The airline added last year its UK pilots agreed a 20 per cent salary increase, with senior captains earning up to £180,000 per year.
Apologising to customers for the “uncertainty” this would cause, Ryanair said it was urging Balpa to return to talks.
Which flights will be affected?
Flights will be affected from 00:01 on 22 August to 23:59 on 23 August, the Thursday and Friday before the Bank Holiday, and from 00:01 on 2 September to 23:59 on 4 September.
What are my rights?
If your flight is cancelled, you usually have a legal right to either a full refund within seven days or a replacement flight.
However, if the flight was cancelled due to reasons beyond the airline’s control such as an act of terrorism, a volcanic eruption, extreme weather or a strike, the airline is not obliged to compensate you.
So in the event of industrial action, it’s at the airline’s discretion whether to compensate you.
You’re advised to check all your travel arrangements ahead of your trip, to ensure you have as smooth a journey as possible.
Will there be any other disruption?
Ryanair’s pilot walkouts won’t be the only thing worrying those who’ve booked their summer travels.
British Airways pilots could walk after 93 per cent of members of Balpa voted in favour of industrial action, though the union must give BA two weeks’ notice if any action is to take place. This means that industrial action cannot take place until at least 22 August.
A walkout of 4,000 people at the UK’s biggest airport, Heathrow, was recently announced by Unite.
Staff planning to strike includes security guards, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers. The workers are set to strike on 23 and 24 August.
A planned two-day strike for 5 and 6 August was recently postponed at the last minute to allow more time for negotiations with managers.
Members of Unite were going to walk out at 00.01 on Monday morning after an “overwhelming” vote in favour of industrial action at the airport.
Heathrow had already cancelled around 177 flights, causing disruption to passengers, but the scale of disruption would have been worse if the strike had gone ahead.
A spokesman for Heathrow explained that they will be implementing contingency plans in the event of further strikes to ensure that not only does the airport remain open, it continues to operate safely throughout.
EasyJet staff at Stansted Airport have also announced a 17-day strike over a long-running dispute regarding pay.
A total of 43 passenger service agents employed by Stobart Aviation Services Limited will stage a walk-out on 9-12 August, 16-19 August and 23-27 August.
Although no strikes have been announced at Gatwick Airport yet, Unite is currently conducting a ballot of over 100 members working for the company ICTS as security staff, and those working for ISS, who help with cleaning services and moving luggage.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, inews