FNV Luchtvaart is sitting at the table with Ryanair for the first time in mid-April to discuss the terms and conditions of employment of cabin crew in Eindhoven.
“Since November 2015, we have asked Ryanair to be recognised as a legitimate trade union representative. After years of refusal, the company now makes a turn”, says Asmae Hajjari, director FNV Luchtvaart. “The invitation finally arrived today.”
Today is the third day of a strike by Ryanair cabin crew in Portugal. The strike started in the Easter weekend, namely on Thursday and Sunday. Many flights were cancelled or seriously delayed. Ryanair tried to deploy personnel from other bases in Spain, Germany and Eindhoven at Faro and Porto. Hajjari: “Our members have rightly refused this ‘contaminated work’ this weekend. We let Ryanair know by letter yesterday that what they were trying to do is breaking strikes and is therefore forbidden.”
The low-cost Irish airline refused to discuss with trade unions in Europe for a long time. After a strike threat from pilots, Ryanair first entered into a meeting with pilots. Hajjari: “More than 60% of the Ryanair cabin crew working from Eindhoven is currently affiliated to FNV Luchtvaart. That and the steadfast attitude of our members has certainly contributed to the will of Ryanair to invite us to the discussion table. There will be strong negotiations and pressure from our members to reach agreements on decent working conditions. Both Ryanair and their affiliated employment agency Crewlink use abominable employment conditions.”
While the economic model of Ryanair leads to very low ticket prices, on the other hand, it causes price pressure for all companies in the aviation industry. That seems nice for the consumer, but also leads to a race down when it comes to terms of employment, working conditions and the quality of service. That race has to stop and that is why FNV Luchtvaart is striving to create a minimum level in the market. This is not only possible for FNV, the government, the Schiphol Group and the airlines must also have the courage to limit the unbridled market forces. That leads to excesses and helps to kill sustainable employment.
FNV is not alone in turning the tide in aviation. Meanwhile, the trade unions for cabin crew in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Germany and Great Britain have also reported to Ryanair with a request for recognition, in collaboration and with the support of the European Transport Federation (ETF) and the International Transport Federation (ITF).