Protests in Europe force new Ryanair strike and resignation of EasyJet COO



Ryanair crew members will continue their protests during July, while negotiations between EasyJet and its workers ended up leaving the company’s chief operating officer on the sidelines.

The USO and SICTPLA unions, which bring together the Spanish workers of the low-cost Ryanair, called for twelve new days of strike action at the airline’s ten Spanish bases. Specifically, the 24-hour stoppages will occur on July 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, and 28. The unions are demanding «a change of attitude» from the airline, and the resumption of negotiations to provide decent working conditions.

Nearly 1,500 flights canceled

According to the unions, last week’s protests left at least 241 flights canceled and 1,440 delayed between EasyJet and Ryanair: 26 cancellations and 185 delays at the former, and 215 and 1,255 at the latter. Most EasyJet cancellations were to or from Malaga-Costa del Sol airport, but operations at Barcelona-El Prat and Palma de Mallorca-Son Sant Joan were also affected.

Related content: Strikes, staff shortages, and a new wave of Covid lead to chaos at Europe’s airports

According to the unions, Ryanair responded to the protests with «illegalities»: threats, coercion, and operation of domestic flights with Portuguese, Italian, Moroccan, or English crew members. On the side of the British airline, Miguel Galán, secretary-general of USO, pointed to similar irregularities: «Easyjet is trying to operate canceled flights with foreign crews, a practice it has copied from the queen of illegalities Ryanair».

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At the same time, Galán was «satisfied with the high compliance of a strike that between the Ministry of Transport and the company wanted to condemn to absolute silence and failure, declaring 100% of the flights as minimum services and banning the strike, another practice copied from Ryanair».

Protests force EasyJet’s COO’s resignation

EasyJet’s chief operating officer, Peter Bellew, left his job just as the company’s Spanish workers planned new strikes for July 15, 16, 17, 29, 30, and 31. According to information from Bloomberg, Bellew’s departure follows «differences of opinion» over how to handle clashes with the unions.

Bellew joined the British airline following his departure from Ryanair in 2019. During his time at the Irish airline, he was in charge of guiding negotiations with workers just as a pilot shortage sparked a unionization drive and the first strikes at the company. He will be succeeded in his post by David Morgan, who has filled the role on a temporary basis previously.

Ismael Awad-Risk
Ismael Awad-Risk
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