HOLIDAYMAKERS FLYING with Ryanair today and over the weekend may face disruptions as cabin crew with the budget airline in Belgium, Spain and Portugal walk out in a dispute over pay and working conditions.
The airline has been forced to cancel dozens of flights as a result of the strike action, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.
Surging inflation across Europe has led to millions of workers struggling with a higher cost of living, prompting trade unions to demand higher wage increases often backed by strike calls.
Ryanair cabin crew unions in Belgium, Spain and Portugal called a three-day strike starting today.
Staff in France and Italy are expected to walk out over the weekend, while crews in Spain are set to strike again on June 30 and July 1-2.
In a statement, the unions said that Ryanair employees continue to be treated like "third-class workers" and called on the company to comply with "basic labor rights and court rulings."
They called on the low-cost airline to sit down to negotiate "a collective agreement and decent working conditions for all staff."
"Ryanair is the only international company in our country without a collective workers' agreement," said Lidia Arasanz, general secretary of the USO trade union at Ryanair in Spain.
"Conditions are terrible," said Ricardo Penarroias, president of SNPVAC, the union behind Portugal's walkout. "A crew member is not even allowed to take a bottle of water on a flight."
Pilot and cabin crew unions of Brussels Airlines, the Belgian subsidiary of Lufthansa, also started a strike yesterday.
British Airways workers at Heathrow have also voted to strike during the school summer holidays.
Members of the GMB and Unite unions overwhelmingly supported the prospect of industrial action over pay with 95% of those voting, at both unions, backing strikes on turnouts of 81% and 63% respectively.
It means that more than 700 BA check-in staff and ground-handling agents could walk out at the height of the summer season.