DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish airline Ryanair (RYA.I) has told over 300 pilots and cabin crew that they may lose their jobs as it cuts its Dublin-based fleet by 20 percent for the winter season after recent strikes hurt bookings and airfares in its home market.
A stranded Ryanair passenger checks her phone, on the first day of a cabin crew strike held in several European countries, at the Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas airport in Madrid, Spain, July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Susana Vera
The low cost carrier, Europe’s largest by passenger numbers, is in the middle of its worst week of stoppages in more than three decades of flying as it struggles in talks with trade unions whom it has decided to recognize for the first time.
Around a quarter of its Dublin-based pilots staged their third 24-hour stoppage in two weeks on Tuesday while cabin crew in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium began a two-day strike on Wednesday, prompting Ryanair to cancel more than 12 percent of its flights.Slideshow (4 Images)
Warning investors on Monday of more strikes this summer, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said he would consider moving aircraft from Ireland, Belgium and Portugal and acted swiftly within 48 hours.
“If our reputation for reliability or forward bookings is affected, then base and potential job cuts such as these at Dublin are a deeply regretted consequence,” Ryanair Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew said in a statement.
Ryanair said it expected few route closures from Dublin as a result of reducing the fleet to 24 from 30, but that some routes may suffer frequency reductions as it moves the aircraft to its Polish airline, Ryanair Sun, which it said was enjoying rapid growth.
It will begin redundancy consultations with over 100 Dublin pilots and more than 200 cabin crew who were issued with 90-day protective notice. Transfers to Poland will be offered in order to minimize any redundancies, Ryanair added.
Ryanair, which operates from 86 bases in 37 countries and carried 130 million passengers last year, averted widespread strikes before last Christmas with a last-minute U-turn to recognize unions for the first time in its 32-year history.
However it has since struggled to reach agreement on terms with several of them.
Pilots are demanding more transparent systems for promotions and transfers to reduce what they say is excessive management discretion over their careers, while cabin crew want local contracts and better conditions.
O’Leary, who says his staff have some of the best conditions in the low-cost sector, said on Monday that he would be “far happier take a hit to our earnings this year, but convey the message that we will face down strikes.”
Shares in the airline, which earlier this week matched a 12-month intraday low hit in December when it shocked markets by recognizing unions, were 2.7 percent higher at 0830 GMT.
Additional reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Keith WeirOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.