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Ryanair Christmas strike: What has caused the row and which flights will be affected?

Ryanair Christmas strike: What has caused the row and which flights will be affected?

Ryanair passengers face the prospect of flight disruption only days before Christmas after pilots at the airline’s Dublin base voted to strike.

Why are Ryanair pilots striking?

It feels like it’s still part of the fall-out from the pilot rostering failure earlier in the year, which appeared to test the patience of the some of the carrier’s staff.

The ballot by Impact, the Irish Municipal, Public and Civil Trade union, of which Ialpa (the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association) is a branch, returned a large majority in favour of striking, with the date set as December 20, for a period of 24 hours.

The dispute centres on Ryanair pilots’ desire to negotiate terms via the collective European Employee Representative Council – which encompasses staff at all bases – rather than each of the company’s 87 bases agreeing terms separately. Pilots in Italy and Portugal have also voted in favour of industrial action.

Ryanair refuses to engage with the unions CREDIT: GETTY

A letter to Ryanair from the Ialpa branch of the union, and seen by Telegraph Travel, says the staff are preparing for industrial action should Ryanair fail to see Ialpa as the representative body for its pilots, commence disciplinary proceedings against any Ialpa members or reduce their pay or change their terms or conditions of employment.

The airline has refused to engage with the unions, or recognise a new European Employee Representative Council, established to represent Ryanair bases across the continent, which it is legally allowed to do.

Ryanair said it would “face down” the threatened strike, which it claims is being orchestrated by Aer Lingus pilots in the union who do not care about Ryanair staff working conditions.

A spokesperson said its pilots who engaged in the industrial action would risk losing a favourable roster, as well as “certain pay benefits and promotion opportunities”.

What will the impact be on Ryanair services?

The spokesperson said: “Ryanair will deal with any such disruptions if, or when they arise, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any upset or worry this threatened action by less than 28 per cent of our Dublin pilots may cause them over the coming days.”

Though it may not sound likely to cause disruption, many of the pilots agreeing to strike are understood to be captains, a rank which must be present on a plane if it is to fly.

The strike could be headed off as union members meet Ryanair before the planned action.

Am I entitled to a refund if my flight is cancelled?

Yes. Should your flight be cancelled, European Union regulations require airlines to offer you either a full refund of the unused parts of your tickets, or to re-route you to your destination, as soon as possible. It may also allow you to rebook your flights for a later date at no extra cost.

Will I get compensation?

Airlines are not liable to pay the additional cash compensation set out by EU regulations when they are not directly responsible for the disruption. This might be a grey area should any flights be cancelled and passengers would have to test the letter of the law.