Ryanair pilot strike grounds 400 flights across Europe

Ryanair strike Pilots in the Netherlands to join Europe-wide strikes on Friday

"For decades Ryanair has refused their employees basic labour rights most employees on the labour market take for granted, but here a strike is necessary to show the airline that it no longer can avoid treating its employees in a dignified manner", Martin Lindgren, President of the Swedish Pilots' Union, said in a statement.

Nearly 400 flights have been cancelled today, affecting more than 55,000 passengers.

One of the most severe was the 48-hour cabin crew strike on 25 and 26 July, which saw a total of 600 flights to and from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium cancelled, ruining the travel plans of 100,000 passengers.

Europe's largest low-priced airline recognized unions in December, but talks have so far failed to produce agreements on improved working conditions, or for contracts to be governed by the laws of the country where workers are based, rather than by Irish legislation. Past year it agreed to recognise unions for the first time but it is in a dispute over collective labour agreements.

The company says 85% of its scheduled flights will operate as normal on Saturday and the majority of customers affected have been given places on other Ryanair flights. Labour representatives are seeking collective bargaining agreements in the different countries.

Germany will be worst hit, with 250 cancellations at ten airports after the country's Cockpit union called on pilots towalk out from 3.01am local time (2.01am BST).

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The unions want the contracts of Ryanair employees to be governed by the laws of the nation where they are based, not by Irish legislation.

Ryanair's management claims to have offered a pay increase and to be open to further talks.

Responding to the comments Mr Calder made on the BBC today, Ryanair told Express.co.uk: "In the case of a cancelled flight, if the customer requests a full refund, then no further compensation is due". But it has also threatened to move part of its fleet to Poland, which could mean a loss of jobs.

Since the it first recognised unions in December 2017, walkouts have been staged multiple times by Ryanair staff in various countries.

He said: "Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund or reroute options", the carrier said.

'We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling any more unjustified strikes'.

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