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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 September 2017

Travel chaos for Ryanair customers as airline cancels thousands of flights

Ryanair, photo Adrian Pingstone/CC

Ryanair, photo Adrian Pingstone/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Daniel Jones, Caerphilly Socialist Party

There has recently been controversy among the clouds, or rather down on the ground, for Europe's largest airline, Ryanair, amid cancellations and a major staffing crisis. The airline is set to make 2,000 cancellations over six weeks which could affect up to 400,000 passengers. Ryanair has admitted that the problem was caused by mistakes made in pilot rostering after it 'mismanaged' their holidays.

This crisis at Ryanair exposes the limitation of privately owned transport and deregulation. Many customers will not think of using the company to fly again after experiencing short notice cancellations, leaving booked hotels and holidays go to waste and no guarantee of compensation other than for flights as insurers are refusing to cover costs.

Despite the message sent out by Ryanair, implying that these cancellations are down to pushy pilots wanting their holidays and the result of an understanding employer too willing to oblige, it's clear to most people that there is something much bigger happening than a simple rostering mistake.

The European Cockpit Association (ECA), representing 38,000 pilots, opposes Ryanair's anti-union stance and believes the Ryanair pilots should unite as a group. The ECA also says that pilots across Europe support demands from staff for significant changes and improvements to their terms and conditions.

Undercut

Another major issue that faces the pilots is the use of agencies or self-employed pilots who are used to undercut the conditions of those employed by the company and create a race to the bottom on working conditions and wages. The demand for better working conditions and pay was put strongly in joint letters sent by pilots from numerous European bases.

Ryanair has a significant problem on its hands if it doesn't meet its workers' demands, including possible strike action by pilots and cabin staff. The 24-hour strike by Thomas Cook pilots on 23 September and the long-running dispute involving British Airways cabin crew have shown that strike action by workers in aviation is possible.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 27 September 2017:


What we think

Anti-austerity opposition needed to seize on Tories' weakness


Socialist Party youth and students

Fight for free education

Freshers week campaigning reports


Sport

Women's football - Sampson allegations


Socialist Party news and analysis

Gig economy exploiter Uber loses London licence

Travel chaos for Ryanair customers as airline cancels thousands of flights

One in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bristol: demand for no-cuts budget grows

Salford: Labour mayor needs to stop all cuts

Ledbury tenants fight for decent homes

Hundreds march against Labour council's development plan

Stop the cuts - save our vital services

Lessons of October new edition out now!


Socialist Party workplace news

Escalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

Birmingham bin strike: council humiliated in court battle - but war isn't over yet

Food processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses

Usdaw elections announced - fight for a left leadership, vote for Amy Murphy

Surrey County Council staff on collision course over pay freeze

CWU strike ballot to win 'Four Pillars'


International socialist news and analysis

Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!

German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

French Labour reform protests


 

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