Due to Spanish labour legislation stipulating a minimum period of notice before downing tools, employees of the Irish-based carrier cannot go on strike until September – although they have not confirmed the dates when air travel will be affected.
The company has announced the closures in the Canary Islands will be on January 8, but the shutdown of the Girona base is not yet a certainty and forms part of the ‘probable’ redundancies the firm has spoken of in the last few weeks.
Cabin crew union SITCPLA and the Labourers’ Union Alliance (USO) held a meeting with Ryanair representatives today (Wednesday) through the company’s Inter-Confederal Mediation and Arbitration Service (SIMA), which was initially planned to discuss and negotiate a new collective working conditions agreement – but after the session, Ryanair asked the unions for a further meeting, without arbitrators present, in which it planned to announce massive cutbacks within the firm including the closure of three bases in Spain.
This immediately led to a strike announcement, since according to USO-Ryanair’s secretary-general, Gustavo Silva, the firm’s behaviour in this respect is ‘abusive’.
Ryanair announced at the end of last month that it would be making nearly 1,000 staff, both cabin crew and pilots, redundant in order to cut costs.
This is in spite of its having been the largest airline in terms of passenger numbers in Spain so far this year, transporting over 23.5 million travellers to and from the country before even peak summer season started.
And Spain is one of Ryanair’s largest markets, after Ireland.
Some of the redundancies are said to be due to the likelihood of air connections between the UK and Republic of Ireland, the firm’s most heavily-frequented route, being affected if a no-deal Brexit prospers on October 31.