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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Ryanair pilots in Italy set to go on strike

Pilots have mobilised in the wake of the announcement of 20,000 flight cancellations by the Irish carrier

A Ryanair aeroplane prepares to land at Dublin airport in Dublin, Ireland. Its pilots in Italy say they will take industrial action. Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters
A Ryanair aeroplane prepares to land at Dublin airport in Dublin, Ireland. Its pilots in Italy say they will take industrial action. Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

The Italian pilot union Anpac on Wednesday said its Ryanair pilots had declared a four-hour strike for Dec. 15.

The strike is to take place from 14.00 GMT to 18.00 GMT on that day, a spokesman for the union said. The union says it has 280 members, representing around 40 per cent of the Ryanair pilots based in Italy. Anpac said it was not yet clear how many of its pilots were scheduled to fly at that time.

Ryanair does not recognise unions and has long managed to avoid industrial action. But pilots have mobilised in the wake of the announcement of 20,000 flight cancellations by the Irish carrier, which it said was due to a lack of standby pilots.

In October, AFP reported pilots had been taking to social media to call for dialogue, and to share their anger at a management class they accuse of disdain.

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"There's an obvious haemorrhaging of pilots," said one former Ryanair co-pilot who recently left for another airline and agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.

"They leave because they're fed up with being treated like numbers", he said, condemning "the management's terror regime".

"The problem was brewing and it just took a spark to set the whole thing alight," he said of the thousands of cancelled flights, which the company's brash director general Michael O'Leary blamed on glitches in holiday leave planning.

Ryanair management denied these "hearsay claims" and pointed out that all 86 of Ryanair's air bases have elected pilot representatives, who are able to enter into negotiations without "fear or terror".

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