Ryanair has launched a petition calling for the removal of the right to strike for European airport traffic controllers as French staff prepare for two days of strikes expected to cause travel chaos.
The budget airline said that when the petition – Keep Europe’s Skies Open – reaches 1m signatures Ryanair will present it to the European commission and urge it to take action.
A second option proposed by the petition is that controllers from other European countries should be allowed to manage flights over French airspace during strikes to minimise cancellations for travellers crossing France to other countries.
Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: “It’s unacceptable that Europe’s consumers repeatedly have their holiday and travel plans disrupted or cancelled by the selfish actions of ATC unions every summer, who use strikes as a first weapon rather than a last resort. If the EU won’t listen to the airlines, perhaps they’ll listen to Europe’s citizens.”
The main French controllers’ union, the SNTCA has called a 48-hour strike starting at dawn on Thursday that will affect thousands of travellers.
The strike is likely to affect flights not just to and from France but also destinations such as Italy and Spain which require planes to fly over French airspace. The action will be the second time this year passengers have been disrupted by an SNTCA stoppage.
The union is unhappy about proposed increases to its members’ pension age and a general worsening of working conditions.
Travellers intending to fly from British airports were left stranded in April when French air traffic controllers stopped work. Ryanair said more than 3,600 flights were cancelled, disrupting the travel plans of more than 500,000 passengers.
The airline proposed that controllers would still be allowed to join unions and to negotiate through mediation or binding arbitration but, like their counterparts in the US, they would not be allowed to strike.
This article was written by Sean Farrell, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 1st July 2015 09.08 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010