12:58 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Chief Executive Officer of Irish airline Ryanair Michael O'Leary poses with his company's logo projected on his face as he attends a press conference at a hotel in London on August 31, 2016.

    Holidaymakers Flood Twitter to Vent Frustrations Over Ryanair Strikes Set to Cause Mass Disruptions

    © AFP 2019 / Daniel Leal-Olivas
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    A major union of British pilots voted to strike from midnight 22 to 23 August as well as midnight 2 to 4 September, causing panic amongst people worried about how the industrial actions would affect their holidays.

    Travellers have taken to social media to vent their frustrations at Ryanair pilots in the UK, who announced strikes during peak holiday times across Europe in late August and early September.

    One holidaymaker begged the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) not to strike, as it would ruin their "first holiday in six years" and her three young children had never travelled abroad. "Think of the innocent public please," she pleaded.

    One Twitter user backed the pilots and slammed Ryanair as "one of the most anti-union management teams" in Europe.

    ​Others wanted to know if their flights would be affected, with others praying they would be cancelled at the last minute.

    The news comes after BALPA pilots announced on Wednesday a series of strikes following a National Executive Council (NEC) ballot, where 80 percent of union strikers voted in favour of industrial action amid a 72 percent turnout.

    Ryanair and BALPA: What Went Wrong

    BALPA accused Ryanair of “decades” of "refusing to deal with unions”, which resulted in "a management that apparently doesn’t understand how to work with unions” and “a company that doesn’t have a number of standard agreements that any union would reasonably expect in any workplace”, BALPA said in a Wednesday press release.

    The breakdown in communication resulted in issues with pensions, loss of license insurance, maternity benefits, allowances, and a "fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure”.

    Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said: “We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action. No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice.

    Ryanair States Its Case

    Ryanair was “disappointed” that BALPA pilots had threatened to disrupt its customers travel plans when it had “the support of less than 30 percent” of its UK pilots, a Ryanair spokesperson said in a press statement.

    Less than 50 percent of Ryanair’s UK pilots were BALPA members, with “just 57 percent” voting in favour of industrial action.

    “This is less than 30% of Ryanair’s UK pilots,” the spokesperson said. “BALPA have no mandate to disrupt our customers holidays and flights, particularly at a time when UK pilots are facing job losses due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no deal Brexit on 31 Oct”.

    The company added that its UK pilots had agreed to a 20 percent salary rise and accused BALPA pilots of recommending pay freezes for Jet2 pilots and “12 months unpaid leave for Norwegian’s Gatwick pilots”.

    Ryanair slammed the strikes as “ill-timed”, stating that they will take place 10 weeks before Brexit and “cause unnecessary disruption to customers holidays and travel plans”.

    The carrier added: “We have written to BALPA asking them to return to talks, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any uncertainty that BALPA’s ballot may cause them. We hope BALPA will now work with Ryanair to minimise job losses instead of undertaking ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action.

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    Tags:
    United Kingdom, low-cost airline, airline, Viral, Social Media, Twitter, holiday, strikes, industrial action, Michael O'Leary, Ryanair
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