AP2012

Ryanair staff to down tools: steward explains what the problem is with his Irish contract

Pilots and cabin crew of low-cost carrier Ryanair have announced strike action on 3 different days in July. They are unhappy about working conditions. 

Pilots are going on strike on 12 July, while cabin crew in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Portugal will be downing tools on 25 and 26 July. Staff in the Netherlands and Germany are also considering industrial action. 

Staff are unhappy about working conditions, since they all have an Irish contract, regardless of the country where they actually work and live. Ryanair also engaged two subcontractors: those working for the subcontractors and doing the same work, have worse pay, unhappy employees argue.  

I can't get a loan to buy a house, and when I am ill I can't get a valid sick note from the doctor

"I have an Irish contract, regardless of where we live and work", a steward told the VRT "and this has major consequences." The man gives some very concrete examples. 

"When I fell ill, my GP couldn't give me sick note because I am officially working in Ireland. So I couldn't get a note to be able to stay at home to rest. Because my employer is based in Ireland, the Belgian note doesn't count." And there is more. "When I want to buy a house, banks in Belgium don't want to give me a loan since my wage is being paid in Ireland. But in Ireland, it's also difficult to get a mortgage since I don't live there, and because the house I want to buy is not situated in Ireland. We're in between two chairs."

The steward confirms the unequal pay conditions: "I have a contract with Ryanair, but I know colleagues who are employed by subcontractors like Crewlink. They get a lot less pay."