Ryanair: Will The Strikes Go Ahead?

21 August 2019, 11:51 | Updated: 21 August 2019, 11:56

Pilots at Ryanair are to stage a series of strikes after voting in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay and conditions
Pilots at Ryanair are to stage a series of strikes after voting in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay and conditions. Picture: PA

Here is everything you need to know about the strike action Ryanair's UK pilots are expected to take tomorrow, unless it is blocked at the High Court today.

The two Ryanair pilot walkouts are as follows:

1) From 0001 on 22nd August until 2359 on 23rd August

2) From 0001 on 2nd September until 2359 on 4th September

What is the latest?

Ryanair is at the High Court today in an attempt to stop UK pilots from beginning their strike tomorrow.

The airline is seeking an injunction to prevent members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) participating in the planned walkout.

If the court were to intervene, the strike action could well be blocked.

Flights are continuing to be sold on strike days, which British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has said is “worrying”.

The trade union has accused the airline of “bullying tactics” and wasting time by seeking to block the strike action instead of pursuing talks with pilots.

What is the strike about?

British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) announced the strike concerns issues such as pensions; loss of license insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure.

On its website BALPA complained of "decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions".

The union claims this has resulted in "a management that apparently doesn’t understand how to work with unions, and secondly a company that doesn’t have a number of standard agreements that any union would reasonably expect in any workplace."

Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said “ No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”

The union claimed that 72% of its members at the company had taken part in the ballot with 80% of those supporting strike action.

However, Ryanair said that fewer than 50% of Ryanair's UK pilots were members of BALPA, and of these, just 57% voted in favour of industrial action.

Thousands of Ryanair passengers' travel plans will be disrupted by strike action
Thousands of Ryanair passengers' travel plans will be disrupted by strike action. Picture: PA

How disruptive will the strike be?

The strike will affect British-crewed flights, and an estimated 350,000 travellers are booked to fly on them in the strike period.

Note that many flights serving the UK will definitely not be affected, because they use crews based in France, Spain, Italy, etc, for flights to and from British airports.

It is unlikely that flights on any adjacent days, such as on 24 August or 1 September, will be affected.

If a settlement is not found, experience of Ryanair pilots’ strikes over the past year suggests the impact is likely to be patchy, with around one-third to one-half of UK-crewed flights cancelled.

What are passengers' rights?

In normal circumstances, all Ryanair flights are changeable but they cannot be cancelled.

The airline and the union both say they do not want the strikes to go ahead. But if they do, a significant number of Ryanair flights will operate.

The only time the airline will offer a refund on flights is once cancellations have been decided, which should be two or three days ahead of the strike.

If your flight is cancelled, under European air passengers’ rights rules, Ryanair must find you a flight as soon as possible – including on another airline if necessary.

Unless it can put you on another Ryanair flight at a very similar time to a different carrier, it must pay for a new ticket.

Ryanair must also meet attendant expenses, such as transport from Stansted to Gatwick or Heathrow to take a flight on easyJet or British Airways respectively.

But the airline says the strike is beyond its control and it need not pay.

What do passengers think?

Many desperate Ryanair passengers have tried to contact Ryanair on Twitter to say that the strike would disrupt their holiday and wedding plans.

Many passengers want information about Ryanair's compensation policy and details about exactly which flights will be cancelled during the strike period.