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Ryanair pilot strike leaves 55,000 travellers stranded across Europe

10 August 2018

Ryanair has refused to issue a list of the flights cancelled, but The Times understands that at least 50 departures from the United Kingdom have been called off, with more than 250 cancelled in Ireland. There are four canceled flights between Stockholm and Alicante and Barcelona.

"What I find unjustified is that the pilots draw the short straw, because people want to fly cheaply", said Daniel Flamman, one of several passengers Reuters spoke to at Frankfurt airport who said they sympathised with the pilots.

Despite the walkouts, 85 per cent of its scheduled flights, more than 2,000, will operate as normal, Ryanair said. "The strike may go ahead", judge Theo Roell said.

Ryanair has slammed the strikes as "unnecessary" but pilots counter that the carrier has refused to engage in meaningful dialogue about collective labour agreements since it began recognising unions in December 2017.

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The trade union Cockpit said 480 Germany-based pilots were not expected to return to work until 2.59 a.m. Saturday.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled will be informed by text or email, but all those travelling to and from the affected countries with Ryanair on Friday are advised to check with the airline.

That topped the 300 flights a day it had to cancel last month when cabin crews in Belgium, Portugal and Spain escalated the staff revolt by going on strike for 48 hours.

Since then, however, it has struggled to reach agreements.

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The company is eyeing profits of around €1.25billion (£1.12billion) this year, and boasts lower costs per passenger than its competitors.

Ryanair has repeatedly said it remained open to further talks with pilot representatives.

The unrest is one of the biggest challenges to face long-term chief executive Michael O'Leary, who was once quoted as saying he would rather cut off his hand than recognise unions and on another occasion crossed a picket line of baggage handlers to help load a plane.

Among other issues, they are also seeking changes to Ryanair's practice of moving staff to different bases without much notice, and a reduction in hours. But it has also threatened to move part of its fleet to Poland, which could mean a loss of jobs.

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Peter Scherrer, deputy secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation, said he welcomed today's cross-border show of unity by pilots because it made it harder for management to ignore their demands.

Ryanair pilot strike leaves 55,000 travellers stranded across Europe