Under the banner of Cabin Crew United, workers from across Europe and North Africa will come together at a summit in Dublin on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 July to agree the issues that must be dealt with and criteria the company must meet in order to be given a clean bill of health.
Failure by Ryanair to make good on such previous promises will inevitably lead to further disruption and disputes.
On Monday 4 June, trade unions representing cabin crew across the airline’s network met in Brussels to prepare the ground for next month’s summit. Convened by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the group resoundingly agreed to support cabin crew putting their demands to Ryanair.
Under intense pressure from workers, in December 2017 Ryanair finally announced that it would recognise unions for the first time. However, progress towards recognition over the last six months has been glacial. Ryanair is showing its inexperience in dealing with unions and it now needs to come to the negotiating table.
Workers, unions and journalists alike have heavily criticised working conditions at Ryanair over the last few years. The range of issues highlighted include poverty pay, draconian disciplinary procedures, unachievable sales targets and staff having to pay for items that most decent employers provide.
While December’s announcement was welcomed, the company must do more to overcome a history of anti-union agitation and to win the trust of workers.
If Ryanair does not respond promptly and appropriately to the charter it risks a future of conflictual industrial relations and disputes.
Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez, ITF aviation secretary, said: “We want Ryanair to succeed as a business, but it needs to address the concerns of its workers. This summit shows that cabin crew are standing united, working together internationally, and are ready to take on an exploitative employer. The charter of demands will provide a clear guide for the company on how it can change for the better.”
François Ballestero, ETF political secretary, added: “The message from workers is clear: enough is enough. Either Ryanair starts treating its employees fairly, or it will face the kind of action it saw in Portugal over Easter weekend.”