Ryanair Calls For Taking Away Workers “Right To Strike”


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Ryanair Calls For Taking Away Workers “Right To Strike”

By Daniel Baxter

December 14, 2010 - Ireland’s air carrier, Ryanair had indicated on Monday that the airline will take legal action as a result of the Spanish air traffic controllers strike on Friday and Saturday which forced Ryanair to cancel over 500 flights. 

Ryanair has indicated the legal action will be against Aeropuertos Espanoles y Navegacion Aerea (AENA) Spain’s state department that owns and manages most airports in Spain, Spain’s aviation regulator AESA and the air traffic controllers union, USCA. 

This strike is not just about Spanish air traffic controllers, it’s about all workers across Europe. Throughout 2010, hundreds of unions have organized their workers to go out and protest against the raising of the retirement age on all works by 2018.

Ryanair has once again called for the EU Commission to remove the ‘right to strike’ from essential services such as ATC and to reform the EU261 passenger rights legislation “which has again been shown to be unfit for purpose during recent ATC strikes in Belgium, France and Spain”. 

Ryanair reports that so far in 2010, the airline has been forced to cancel 2,500 flights and delay over 13,000 flights, disrupting over 2.5 million passengers, as a direct result of Belgian, French and Spanish ATC strikes and work to rules. "Under EU261 regulations airlines suffer the costs of these disruptions without any recourse against those unions calling strikes or the EU governments who own the ATCs and repeatedly allow European airspace to be closed". 

Back in September, Ryanair called for the EU to follow the example shown by Ronald Reagan in the early 1980’s when he fired and replaced U.S. Air Traffic Controllers after they went on strike. Ryanair has now called on the EU Commission to reform ATC services as follows: 

1. Remove the “right to strike” for essential services such as ATCs.

2. Sack any ATC staff who participate in illegal strikes (as Ronald Reagan sacked and replaced striking ATC staff in the US in the 1980’s).

3. Deregulate Europe’s national ATC services to allow non striking ATC’s to keep the skies over Belgium, France and Spain open, while their overpaid, underworked ATCs go on strike again and again.

4. Reform the EU261 passenger rights legislation to relieve airlines of ‘right to care’ obligations in such force majeure cases which are clearly outside of airlines’ control. 


“How many more times will Europe’s airlines and their passengers be disrupted by unnecessary airspace closures, strikes and work to rules before the EU Commission finally takes some action? Striking ATC staff are the modern equivalent of highwaymen. They don’t care about consumers, they don’t care about passengers, and they repeatedly strike because they know they can shut down Europe’s skies and hold EU Governments and passengers to ransom,” said Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara. 

“It is unacceptable that Spanish Air Traffic Controllers, some of whom earn almost €1 million per year, continue to engage in strikes, go slows and work to rules, causing delays and misery for millions of European passengers without any financial ramifications. Ryanair will now take legal action against those responsible for the wildcat Air Traffic Control strikes which caused the cancelation of 500 Ryanair flights on the 3rd and 4th of December.”

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