Ryanair crew strike hits Milan

Hundreds of passengers stranded in Milan.

Milan, a major hub of the Dublin-based low-cost airline Ryanair, is among the destinations hardest hit by the longest ongoing strike in the company’s history.

A 24-hour protest by pilots and cabin crews on Wednesday 25 July has seen flights from and to Milan cancelled, and passengers trying to find alternative ways to travel.  Ryanair states that all passengers booked onto the grounded flights have received an email offering substitution flights on other days, or reimbursement of the ticket price.

The strike of 25 July in Italy is scheduled to continue on the following day.  It is not yet clear what further strike action will be taken which could impact on travel to and from Milan.  Passengers can check the current status of their flight on this page of the Ryanair website.

Airline staff are holding demonstrations to plead their cause in Milan’s two major airports, Malpensa and Orio al Serio, as well as in Pisa, Rome Ciampino e Naples Capodichino airports.

The labour unions organising the strike – which is merely the latest in a series which has paralysed travel by Ryanair in several European countries over the past week – complain that the airline has refused to meet demands for negotiation. They also denounce the temporary transfer of staff from non-striking countries to try to cover absences, a practice they say is illegal.

Unions are demanding better pay and improved job security. Among the detailed requests are an end to temporary contracts, introduction of paid sick-leave, and the abolition of targets to be met for the on-board sales of lottery tickets and other items by cabin crew.

An airline rebuttal said the demands are “pointless”: personnel already enjoy benefits, and negotiations have already been successfully completed in the United Kingdom.

Despite the strikes, which follow a similar protest last December, Ryanair announced a 10 per cent increase in revenue as of May this year.  The company carries some 130 million passengers a year.